Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hearing the Voice

Have you ever heard the voice of God? Have you ever heard the voice of God speak directly to you?

In Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis and Beth Clark, Katie hears the voice of God. And He specifically tells her that the name of the next child becoming part of her family will be Sarah. And – it is. A grandmother returns again and again begging Katie to adopt her two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, who is unable to walk. Katie keeps refusing – she already has too many children she’s adopted. Or so she thinks.

The little girl’s name turns out to be Sarah. Katie accepts her, and changes her name, since there’s already one Sarah in the family. The little girl’s new name is Grace – Amazing Grace (the title of this chapter).

It’s a story that brings tears to your eyes. The little girl who couldn’t walk is going to learn to walk.

Miracles do happen. And Katie does hear God’s voice.

I asked myself if I’ve ever heard God’s voice speaking clearly and directly to me. (And I asked myself that if I talked about it here at this blog, would people wonder if I’ve lost my mind.)

The short answer is no, at least not like Katie did when she hears the name of the child.

I’ve talked before about an experience I had in Erfurt, Germany. I didn’t hear a voice, but something happened in that church there, something I still can’t really explain.

I was once sitting in a school board meeting (yes, a school board meeting), and suddenly felt surrounded by what I can only describe as dark, dark shadows. It was short-lived, but it was definitely one of most disconcerting feelings I’ve experienced.

But I can’t say I’ve ever heard a voice speaking plainly in my head.

I can’t count the times I’ve heard people – often certain televangelists – talk about God speaking to them like He was sitting across the table.

And I’ve read dozens of times about writers who believe they have been specifically called by God to write. I often wish I had that kind of assurance. I’m a writer, but I have to confess that God never called me to write. Writing is something I do, it is both my vocation and avocation, and I want to honor God in what I write. But I can’t say I ever heard God tell me to be a writer.

What I have heard or experienced, however, is God speaking in circumstances and through other people.

You hear a missions director at church speak of the need for sponsors for children overseas, and while there’s normal human compassion involved, you also know – really know – that you’re supposed to step up.

Or you hear about someone’s physical or emotional or financial need, or you see and elderly and infirm person struggling, or you see someone’s spirit crushed, or you learn that this stranger sitting beside you on the airplane has just lost a loved one and is struggling – and you know you’re being called to do something. Perhaps it’s only to listen, or to provide some temporary assistance, or just be there, but you know.

I hear God’s voice in the Bible; it’s hard to avoid God’s voice in the Bible, because that’s where it’s the most accessible.

No, I can’t say I’ve heard God’s voice speaking like Katie Davis did in the case of Amazing Grace. I believe it happened exactly the way she describes it.

Things might be simpler – or possibly more difficult – if I did hear “the voice” telling me something very specific.

But I believe anyway.

Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing Kisses from Katie. To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

I admit to never having heard God's voice. i also admit to wondering if something was wrong with me because others claim to and I haven't. Sometimes I wish His leading was as plain as "I heard God's voice." But then again, I suspect I would question it anyway. I admire Katie for her willingness to listen. Hmmm maybe that is my problem.

Louise Gallagher said...

Ah yes -- 'the willingness to listen'

such a great way to say it. I too admire Katie, and you Glynn. You both have deep faith and are connected through all your senses to the divine.

Anonymous said...

I like the way God connects with our physical senses, and mind, as well as our spirit and heart; and how He works that all together in life as it is playing out with us and with others.

S. Etole said...

I haven't read this book, but I've certainly enjoyed your reviews.

It's refreshing to hear of that type of obedience, especially in one so young.

Jerry said...

I heard God's voice directly (in my mind) and clearly once. Coincidentally it was an affirmation to be a writer. God definitely speaks to me through the written Word, but also through nature and epiphany.
For example, once, I was in the dumps, just bummin about life. As I was wlking up to a house for a delivery(UPS)during a cold and rainy day. Head down I asked out loud...Do you love me?...Just then the wind picked up and blew through some pines(My favorite sound in the world). Message received. Thanks for your thoughts Glynn!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

I hear His voice, a whisper in my heart. I can sense His presence around me. Sometimes His Word pops up when I need it most or just appropriately. I've sensed a cold chill in people that's not so good. Also the presence of evil. I think it's the gift of discernment. Some people have other gifts. You are steady- gift of faith, I don't know. You bring a level of knowledge, maturity and strength which is really great. God bless!