I could hear the apprehension in my friend’s voice. How could she know she heard from God? She wanted confirmation that the nudge was from him, but she wasn’t sure. Was the prompting something she produced in her own mind, or from her Creator?
This uncertainty is all too familiar to me, because I still experience it. When it comes to discerning God’s voice, it’s often easier for me to tell someone else that something was from him than to believe it for myself. But the more I spend time with him, talk to him, and read his word, the more confidence he gives me in hearing from him.
Communication with God isn’t one-way street. He speaks to us too, but if you’re anything like me, you’re often too absorbed in your own life to listen. So how do we know if something is from him? How can we be confident we’re not wasting our time when we act on a word we think he gave to us?
Here are a few characteristics of God that give me comfort in following him, ways he communicates through my doubt and questions:
God is patient, and often repeats himself.
When I hear a word, verse or action step over and over again, I’ve learned to pay attention. Usually, God is trying to get my attention and the ways he can do this are limitless. If you read my last post, you see an example of this truth. God wanted to remind me where my joy came from, and also show me the joy I brought to him.
God knows we are forgetful, we experience doubt and we need reassurance. Remember Gideon? He asked God to affirm his future victory over the Midianites not once, but three times. And the Lord honored his request.
“Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked.” Judges 6:39-40 NIV
God’s infinite nature allows him to speak to us in ways we can’t fully comprehend.
We serve a Creator who made the universe out of nothing. He is able to speak to us through other people, music, nature and even our own thoughts. If we’ve made the decision to follow him, the Holy Spirit lives in us and is there to guide us on the path to life and truth. But often, we second-guess the steps he asks us to take and think his prompting is a figment of our imagination.
What if our default response was to say yes instead of no? God is more than capable of blocking our path if we make the wrong move or act too soon. If a step aligns with his word and his character, let’s move forward in confidence that our “yes” can lead us to more abundant life.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
God is more concerned with the health of our souls than with getting from point A to point B.
When I have a vision for the future and how I think things are going to turn out, it can be difficult for me to see anything else. I can become obsessed with my end goal, and forget about the importance of the steps it takes to get there. God, on the other hand, sees the entire story. He sees our future and the lives of those in our circle of influence.
What we see as an obstacle or interruption may be divine intervention. God will use each detour for our good and his glory, if we let him. His plan is for our ultimate good, but we have to trust him beyond what we see in this moment.
As we communicate with God more and come to him with each aspect of our lives, he reveals himself to us. He shows us that he cares not just about the big, monumental events but each second in-between. He is there for all of it.
And as we invite him in, we become more confident in hearing his voice.