Two Pews and the Voice of God
The verbiage, "hearing God," always conveyed to me some grandiose, destiny altering event. I remember reading these stories in the Bible of God speaking to his people and wishing that God would do something so huge, so powerful with me as he did with Moses and Isaiah. I remember thinking that his voice must sound like that of 100 Darth Vaders, and that all those who hear him must be like the Jedi. I wanted to grow up to be a Jedi Christian.
But I didn't learn to hear God in seeking the grandiose. Learning to hear God for me couldn't have happened at a more normal place.
I remember being a little kid sitting on a pew next to my mom just taking in this whole Christian thing. I remember looking over to her as she wrote down on her yellow notepad as she often did. But this time, a question rose up within my heart. "Mom. What are you writing?" I said quietly. "I'm just writing down what I feel God is saying to me," she replied. I remember doing a double-take at that response. I looked at her totally different in that moment-- as if my mom just became a super-Christian with special powers. After regaining what little composure I had at that age I asked, "How do you know God is talking to you?" What she would say has been foundational to my relationship with God ever since. She replied, "As I pray I just pay attention to new thoughts or ideas that come to me."
I learned that God speaks to his children that Sunday night sitting on the same pew we always did. I learned that God speaks in the quiet, seemingly mundane rhythms of life. I learned that God wasn't mute as I thought he was and that experiencing him doesn't have to be as grandiose as I made it out to be.
Fast forward a good number of years. I'm sitting on another pew. This time I'm in college and I've just gotten off stage from playing guitar for our campus worship service as I always did. This time I don't have my mom. Instead I feel all alone, depressed and empty. I'd been wondering all semester if there was more to life than dating, playing guitar and trying to do what I'm supposed to. I'd been wondering why I felt so empty when everything externally seemed to be going so well. I was in a good relationship. I was playing guitar at all these cool events. My school was going well and I loved all my friends. But I just knew something had to change- everything needed to change. And while I was sitting on the same pew as I did, week after week, I finally asked God a question. Really I made a statement that begged a question. I said, "God there has to be more. I'll do anything you ask of me." And in that quiet, mundane moment God broke through and spoke to my heart. He said to me, "It needs to be you and me for a while."
In that moment I knew what he was saying. He was telling me to stop looking to things around me to fulfill me. He was telling me to make space in my life to get to know him like a friend. Responding in obedience to that statement God to made on that Thursday night years ago has changed everything for me.
I don't know how you feel about hearing God. I don't know if you feel like he's ever spoken to you whether it be through a sense of peace, a new desire or a new thought. But if you are the child of God you can know that your heavenly Father wants to speak to you. He is not silent. And you don't have to look for some cataclysmic event to know it's him. He will speak to you right now, in the mundane and normal rhythms of your life.
I pray that you will grow in your discovery of the wonderful availability of conversation with your Creator.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." -John 10:27
By Craig Denison