Hearing God's voice
In Sunday’s sermon, the pastor was preaching the Luke 6 Love Your Enemies theme. He described a friend of his who was in the middle of an intense battle with a co-worker. He felt he was entirely justified in this disagreement and had no intention of backing down. That is, until he heard a message from God. The friend said, “God told me in no uncertain terms to go to that man and ask his forgiveness.” Of course the pastor’s friend didn’t want to do it, but he had no doubt that God had given him this direction.
On the drive home from church, my son asked, “What do you think about people hearing God’s voice?”
“I think it’s possible,” I said.
“Have you ever heard God speaking to you?” he asked me.
“Yes, I have definitely heard God speaking to me, but not a big booming voice out of the sky like you might see in a movie.”
We continued talking and I shared the ways that I thought God speaks to us. One way that I’ve gotten messages from God is through the parents that he provided me for my childhood. I was blessed to be raised by two wonderful Christian role models. They not only took me to church as a child, but they lived their faith every day. By growing up in a Christian home, it’s always been clear what God expects from me.
God uses His believers to deliver messages to me. Sitting in church I’m flooded with communications from Him – the lyrics of the worship songs we sing, the scripture verses that are read and the sermon messages preached. If I open my mind and let those words flow in, I can always find messages that are important for me to hear in my everyday life.
For example, that sermon about Love your Enemies: I may not have heard God’s booming voice from the heavens, “Laurie, go talk to that co-worker of yours who always publicly ridicules your input and tries to take credit for your accomplishments on the project.” That same co-worker sports a “Thank You Jesus” bumper sticker on his car and once made a comment about Jesus to my husband. He’s a brother in Christ. But he’s also nasty to many people in the office and he gives me a stomachache and racing pulse when I know I have to confront him at work. As a result, I avoid his office while I burn with anger that he would dare criticize my perfectly valid ideas!
Did God talk to me about that? Yes, he most certainly did.
Another great way that God talks to us is through his written word – the Bible. The Bible documents actual words from God and His Son – He may have been saying them to someone else at the time, but the messages still apply to me. When I sit down to read the Bible I look at it two-fold – what was the historical setting and intent of the original document, but also, what can those same ancient words mean in my own life in the 21st century?
When I want to hear God’s words about my writing, I often use the Bible to do his talking for him. There are Bible verses that answer me when I’m asking God for direction or encouragement on my writing career. For example:
· Why is this so hard? Why can’t I find an agent? Why have I gotten so many rejections or bad reviews? Will I ever get more readers?
Let’s hear God’s words in response –
Matthew 19:26: With God all things are possible.
Proverbs 16:3: Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.
Isaiah 43:2: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Joshua 1:9: The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
God also speaks when I’m asking for his guidance on the actual story I’m writing. For example:
· How do I make this story meaningful to others? How can I redeem my hero who did bad things at the beginning of the book? How can I create a deep, emotional story that will resonate with my readers?
Let’s hear God’s words in response –
· Isaiah 26:12: Lord, you establish peace for us: What is he telling me? Maybe I created characters who have been through every challenge in life and can’t settle down and find love. They need to establish God’s peace in their lives.
· Psalms 3:3: You, Lord, are a shield around me. What is he telling me? Maybe I'm writing about a hero who thinks that he has to be the strong one to protect the heroine. But he could pray for God’s shield around them both.
· Song of Solomon 2:4: His banner over me is love: My heroine grew up in foster care and never felt the love of her own family, so she doesn’t trust when the hero is offering his love. She can rest assured that with God, his banner of them both is love.
· Beloved hymn written by Horatio Gates Spafford: It is well, it is well with my soul: In a genre of Happily Ever Afters, this is the ultimate Happily Ever After.
· Colossians 3:12: Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience: When I'm building a character I can use these characteristics as a baseline and formulate his or her actions in the story around these guidelines.
Let’s pray: Dear God: we thank you that you speak to us every day, either through messages from other believers, through worship song lyrics, the Bible or a booming voice in our ear or our subconscious. We feel honored to have the ability to communicate with you and we welcome your input into our lives and our writing. Please watch over us this month as we write the words that will help our readers to hear your message. Amen.