This year during Lent, Imago Dei Community will be exploring the theme "Hearing the Voice of God." The following is one in a collection of stories from community members about their experiences, challenges and questions around hearing from God and discerning His voice.
by Brad Childs
Your voice. There are few things more mysterious, elusive or frustrating than Your voice. I search for it constantly, but more often than not I come back empty handed. I feel like I’m wandering aimlessly in the woods, knowing deep in my heart that the path I’m seeking is sooo close, but always just out of reach. It often seems like the question “How do you hear God’s voice?” is a riddle to which there is no answer.
And yet others seem to have You on speed dial. They tell stories of how they heard Your voice so clearly and they followed it and You did amazing things. Why can’t it be that easy for me? They say that You speak through a still, small voice, so I try hard to lean in and listen. And when I do sometimes it seems like I hear You everywhere, in everything, at every moment. But I know it’s not really You. Your sheep will know Your voice. It takes practice to discern it. So how do I know which voice is Yours and which is not?
I’ve heard Your voice before. I’ve heard it through Your word, I’ve heard it through songs, I’ve heard it through people, I’ve even heard it through silence. But I don’t hear it now. I’m listening to all those things, so where are You? I’m frustrated, confused and tired from trying.
And that’s when I hear You. In a simple, quiet truth that immediately penetrates deep into my soul:
Brad, your heart is too busy to hear me.
You know how to speak to me. You know that I’ve filled my heart so full of useless things that only the quickest, simplest, deepest whisper can break through. And I didn’t hear it because I earnestly sought every possible means that You could be using to speak. No, I only heard it because my heart was so exhausted that for the briefest of moments it was still enough to actually listen.
And that’s the lesson I need to learn: that I will only ever hear You when my heart is humble. When my heart is proud and selfish I’ll only hear the things that I want to hear. Only when I set myself aside and just get over myself, will my heart be open to hearing something other than its own voice.
So keep my heart humble. Because this is a truth I will forget and need to relearn again soon.
Art by Scott Erickson.