As I spent time with family last week, I truly enjoyed embracing the still moments with God that seem to be all too elusive and rare. One of the things that every believer ought to prioritize in their lives are those intentional, reflective moments with God that are uninterrupted by things that are urgent but not important. I took time to watch the sunrise. I spent moments singing with the northern birds that were vacationing in their southern nests. I gave myself over to prayer without concern for maintaining a schedule or being on time for a meeting. Through this valuable time with God, I remembered that prayer is not for those who are perfect, but for those who are perfecting. Prayer is an anchor in turbulent seas; it is a sanctuary in chaotic scenes; it is a calming voice amid life’s mundane worries and a wireless connection that never drops. I realized that when I slowed down long enough to listen to God, He was swift to speak clearly to me. Hallelujah and Amen!
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from believers and non-believers is, “how can I recognize the voice of God?” Countless meetings and office hours have been utilized over the years in my attempt to bring guidance and understanding to this question. Many people anticipate hearing God’s roaring voice in the crash of the thunder or in a transcendent, mountaintop visitation. While it is possible for the Lord to display His presence and power in supernatural ways, there is a more measured and simplistic way to experience the joy of hearing and knowing the voice of God. When I reflect on what it means to recognize and know God’s voice, I think of my late mother, Gina.
My mother was a talented person who was smart enough to accomplish anything she set her mind to do. She could sing and keep an introvert in stiches with her impeccable comedic timing. Her heart would open to anyone- even people who did not mean her well. Mom was generous but also a terrifying disciplinarian. For many years, the holiday season was difficult because it was hurtful to recount all of the wonderful memories we made when she was alive. As the eldest, I spent enough time with her to know her mannerisms, diction and what she was thinking before it was verbalized. We spent so much meaningful time together that even after 12 years, 3 months and 2 days, I can still recognize her voice.
The only way to be able to recognize the voice of the Lord is to spend time with Him. Study the Word of God. Fellowship with other believers. Spend more time listening to God than you do talking. Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice.” Listen for the unmistakable direction and comfort that comes from intimate time and fellowship with God. Make time to hear His voice! Rejoice and be glad!