Hi, friends. In today’s post, we’ll discuss how God speaks to people, and I’ll reflect on my own experiences.
God speaking in the Bible
In the Old and New Testament, God speaks to people in a variety of ways. For most Biblical figures–Moses, David, Samuel, Elijah, Paul, Gideon, Jonah, etc.–direct speech from God is mingled to some extent with signs and wonders.
The disciples of the NT communed with God in human form, Jesus. After Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples and others throughout the Book of Acts are compelled to action by the Holy Spirit.
God also works through situations without directly asserting His presence; the Book of Esther is a prime example. Many Biblical stories do not feature God outright, but His presence and influence are understood.
How God speaks to me personally
I feel that the Holy Spirit guides and shapes my thoughts. Often, certain ideas pop into my head at certain moments that seem significant, or I experience something which instantly produces the warm feeling inside me that God is present and working through my life.
I experience a lot of God winks–supposed coincidences and serendipitous moments that I know God orchestrated. Since I love to read, those winks are frequently intertwined with books or scripture. An example: I was led to preach a sermon that connects the exodus from Egypt to Jesus’s second coming (covering for my sick pastor), and my message touched on God’s initiating a rescue plan for all humanity by first calling Abraham. The day before church, when I picked up where I’d left off reading my Bible a few days earlier for devotional time (totally unrelated to the sermon), I “just so happened” to be in the eighth chapter of John, in which Jesus “just so happens” to declare, “Abraham looked forward to the day of my coming with gladness. Before Abraham was, I am.” What are the odds? This is the kind of “coincidence” I experience often.
[Another example: Two days before publishing this post, on the first day of 2020, I lost something wildly important. As I retraced steps and even drove to the places I’d been that day, I relentlessly prayed, “God, please. God, help me!” I even bargained in my hysterical fear–“God, I’ll never doubt Your existence again if you help me find it!” Well, long story short, I found it. And a thought came to mind, which I believe was put there by the Holy Spirit–“This experience is an omen for this year and/or decade that even when I think all hope is lost, God will be there to see me through.” The first day of 2020? The week I plan to post on the subject of how God speaks to me? Coincidences?? I think not!]
My insecurities vs. what I know is true
Since others refer to times when they “heard God’s voice,” I do sometimes feel insecure in my faith and my relationship with God. I wonder if I’m just not worthy; Satan whispers in my ear that maybe everything I believe is a lie. But then I think of what I know to be true…
A few years ago, I was submerged in the world of politics. I was divisive and aggressive, always ready for a social media debate, barely capable of engaging in conversation without mentioning (or at least thinking about) politics. While I was still in the height of my obsession, I signed up for a college course called Literary Study of the Bible. God’s word ignited a change in my heart, scales fell from my eyes, and I saw all my hypocrisy and inerrancy with a new clarity. I humbled myself and actually became a follower of Jesus (up to that point, I was more of a “church-goer” than a “Christian,” which applies to many others as well).
My belief in God is not some shallow shell of faith riding on the coattails of my parents’ traditions. Though I haven’t heard God speak to me in a literal way, God has spoken to me through scripture and other experiences in ways that have truly been life-altering. Considering that everything I watched and read at the time just provided confirmation bias, there is really no logical, non-spiritual explanation for the change that occurred in me. That lets me know that God exists and He loves me.
Maybe I haven’t had a prophecy in a dream or seen a burning bush or heard a voice boom from the sky. But in the whispers on the wind and the meditations of my heart, I hear God speak.
So I turn the question towards my audience–how does God speak to you–direct and literal commands, scripture, other experiences, answered prayers, God winks, etc? Please share in the comments.
Thanks for reading!