Does God speak?
I’ve heard that question a hundred times over the years. I’ve asked it. It’s usually in a moment when I’ve poured out my heart and I wonder if God heard me.
Like the other day.
I wanted to help a friend who is in a hard place. I wanted to make everything OK. I wanted to tell her the next step to take.
I wanted to FIX it.
I’ve already confessed more than once that a fixer lives in me. I’ve kicked that fixer out numerous times. She doesn’t come around very often anymore, but sometimes she shows up with all her luggage — ready to move back into my heart.
This was one of those days.
As I prayed about what to do, a message I have taught over the years came to mind. It’s titled “Stay in Your Ranch.” When I teach this message, I draw an imaginary box around my feet.
“This is what our ranch looks like.”
Then I draw another box in front of me. “This is their ranch,” I say, referring to that one we care about.
I draw yet another imaginary box. “This is God’s ranch.”
It’s a message that helps us gain control of what we can do, by giving up what was never our assignment in the first place. It releases that person to make his or her own choices and to grow through them. It allows God’s voice to be louder than our own in that loved one’s ears.
As I prayed, those my own words came back to me.
This was not mine to fix.
Within my “ranch” there was plenty I could do. I could encourage her. I could pray. I could let her know I was near. . . but it wasn’t my job to fix her. It was hers to address, with God’s help.
This was God speaking.
It wasn’t audible.
There was no finger writing on the wall like Daniel 5. I didn’t have a vision like Peter did in Acts 10. Yet it was just as impactful. Just as real. It helped me to take the next step. He brought to remembrance my own words, and in doing so it was an invitation to live them.
God does speak to us, sweet friends.
As we walk with him daily, he speaks. It may be a whisper. It may be digging deep into the Word, holding tight to the truths already in front of us. It may be a praying friend that confirms what is already brewing in your heart.
It may be that as you kneel to pray, having no idea of what to ask, you leave with your burden just a little lighter.
So, how do we listen for his voice?
Listening for God’s voice is often hard for me because there’s so many voices in my ear.
So shutting down everything — all the opinions and advice, my phone, the noise of social media — and giving a small portion of my day to him, that helps me hear.
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Reading his Word. Just opening it and studying one passage. One chapter a week. Not to meet a goal, but to better meet my Heavenly Father. Plant the Word deep inside of you. That helps, too.
Last, just walking with him. We invite him into every part of our life, even the hard parts. The more we walk with him, the more we know when he speaks. It may be faint. It may be loud. It may be peace that makes no sense in the natural. It might be a gentle nudge that says, “Not yet” or “Don’t go there.” We learn to heed that voice. To give it weight.
Maybe you are in a season where it’s hard to hear God’s voice. I’ve been there too. I know it’s hard, but I pray that it will be a place where you will remember every time he’s been faithful, every time you’ve felt him. He’s that same God. He hasn’t changed. He’s not gone anywhere.
Everything he’s ever said is still true, friend.
Hold on to that. Let us pray with you as you do.
When the early church embraced the help of the Holy Spirit, uncertainty became boldness. Fear became courage. Weakness became strength. Jesus promised us the same help. We don’t have to live our faith by ourselves.
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