When I Didn’t Know We Can Hear God Speak

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]S[/su_dropcap]he stands at the stage up in front, microphone in hand. She talks to a room full of women sitting around circular tables in the fellowship hall of our church. Paper plates sit piled with scones and sliced fruit. Styrofoam cups hold coffee. Strollers line the back of the room. Many women hold babies in their laps. My kids are in the church childcare, and I lean forward, curious to hear each word she says.

God speaksShe says she hears from God. She doesn’t say I can hear Him too.

After she talks for forty minutes about the challenge of raising kids and following God with our whole lives, she spends the next ten minutes doing something I have never seen before. She tells us that God, during her talk, has been whispering to her about certain people in the room. God has given her messages to tell these women. And she is going to tell us, right here, right now, with microphone in hand, specifically what He has said.

I about fall out of my folding chair.

I’ve read about this kind of stuff happening in those stories I read in the Bible. Those prophets were pretty amazing. Obviously special, clearly close with God. And then this speaker stands up here, a woman a decade older than me, seemingly totally normal, and says God has been talking to her and she is going to tell us what He said. What?! I didn’t know this was possible. Not here. Not now.

But I believe her. Well, at least I want to believe her. Say something to me! Tell me something God says about me! I’ve never considered God wanting to talk to us. I’ve never thought that prayer could be more than a little girl in her bed with the brown paneled walls, asking if God would stop her mom from smoking, telling God she was sad about her dog being run over by a car, believing God must not be anywhere near, once she became a teenager and had sex with boys and was obviously filled with sin and was no good.

Nope, God wouldn’t speak, at least not to me. But maybe He speaks to other people? Yes? Could this really be true?

The lights in the room dim. The speaker stands up there, a light shining on her from above the stage, and she begins talking in vague terms what God has whispered to her: there is a woman here who suffers, whose family member died recently, who is struggling with a secret she doesn’t want to speak aloud. The speaker says she doesn’t know to whom God is speaking in the room, but that God knows who she is and that this is what the woman needs to know: she can share her story; she doesn’t need to stay silent; she is not alone; God is with her; He knows this pain. And, if she’d like to come up afterward? There is more He has to say.

She says there is another woman in the room who is paralyzed by fear, who feels unloved and unwanted, whose illness is debilitating, causing her to question God’s presence, who believes she is not able to be healed. Would she like to come up afterward too? The speaker continues like this, speaking of a few more women whose names she either doesn’t know or she chooses not to speak aloud. And I am begging God through the whole time she is saying all this–choose me! I begin to yearn for something I hadn’t known existed.

I am not considering the possibility that God would speak to me personally, straight to me. Would He want to? But perhaps He would speak to her about me? I would love to know what God might have to say.
God speaks

But she doesn’t. I am not one of those lucky women. I don’t fit any of the descriptions. And when the talk ends, and she prays aloud for us all, I am curious about whether or not the women she referenced will go up to the front afterwards. Was it true about them, what she said He said? Did she really hear God speak? Were the women she said God was whispering to her about really here?

And then a woman at my table whom I have never met goes up. And then I see four more women, in different parts of the room, make their way to the front, too. I am jealous. God, what about me?

I look back, a seed being watered I never knew was ever planted.

What has been your experience with listening for God? Do you believe He speaks now? How have you heard Him speak to you? 

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  • Yes I know God speaks today to us individually. Yes, He speaks to me. I know many people who hear God speak to them. He speaks to us for us and for other people – Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge and Prophecy. Amos 3:7 – Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets. Praise His Holy Name!!
    He speaks to me through His Word – through other people and in that still small voice that I hear and feel inside of me.

  • Yes. He speaks to me through others when I don’t expect it. I have recently had a few experiences like you described, but I was one of those there was a word for. But the sweetest times above all else are the things that He speaks to me in my quiet times. The secrets that He chooses to share, the small steps He instructs me to take. Those things that seem like they couldn’t possibly be true, and yet an inner witness that shows me that yes, even where I struggle to see it, there is truth there and the Father sees fit to share it with me.

    • Deanna, oh, your words are a treasure. So beautiful and true. Yes, this is my experience now too. It was fun for me to look back on this experience in that room, ten or so years ago, and now recognize my yearning to hear Him before I knew it then.

    • Yes he does speak to me through others but I feel high caution if someone says God told me specifically to tell you to do such and such…like a fortune teller.. Once a man randomly told my husband God said to tell my husband to go to another country for ministry. My husband said When the Lord tells me I’ll go . On the other hand God speaks to me directly through His word, and confirms through circumstances and the words of others. He speaks to our spirit and we fellowship with Him

  • I’m prepared to have readers raise eyebrows with a “really?” Response, but I’ll share my daily experience so He may have an opportunity to intersect your life, as well.
    I “take dictation” nearly every morning from Jesus, that is, we have conversation via my journal. I begin with greeting Him as My Beloved (there’s a very long story behind that!), then I just pour out my heart in love, in frustration, in abject weariness (my husband is an invalid and I’m his full-time caregiver), in worship and on and on it goes.

    Sometimes He interrupts me and tells me to quit writing my problems, to remember His promises–He is usually quite specific–to recall how loved I am. Occasionally He gives direct answers but not very often. I find Him directing my thoughts in a different framework which gets me thinking of a different approach to the issue. HE NEVER FAILS TO LOVE ON ME, EVER.

    This is what convinces me it is Him…when I return to the journal a day or a week later I realize He has spoken in terms and with words I would not have used. Most of the time I don’t remember ever writing what I read later.

    I am NOT special. I HAVE NOT earned this privilege. This is His doing. Every word of it. I just wish I could sit beside you and we could learn together.

    • Miriam, I thank you for sharing that you take care of your husband. My dad is coming to stay with us in a week. He has had a terrible time, but remains in good spirits. He says he loves the Lord- but what a potty mouth. We will be working on that. I follow our Lord’s prayer and begin my prayers with, Our Father, but end with, In Jesus’ Name. I wanted to tell you that you ARE special… He tells us so over and over in the bible… We are all special in His eyes. Have a blessed day.

    • Oh, yes, Miriam. I completely get this. It is so beautifully how He speaks to us, so intimately. Everyone hears Him differently. Some people don’t hear Him through journaling, through writing the words He whispers–and I love that He speaks to each one of us . . . how it is the yearning for Him first, and the pursuit of Him, that helps us find the way He communicates with us, uniquely. Bless you! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Thank you for pointing out the truth and knowledge that God can and does talk directly to us (and through us). When believers feel they always need someone else to hear from God for them, it becomes easy to doubt His love and care for them. Our Helper, Holy Spirit, hears from God and shares it with us directly.

    • Hi Calista, That is an interesting point. I agree that it is difficult to not compare gifts, to not feel frustrated when we don’t hear from God the way another person does. Yes, I agree, the Holy Spirit is in each of us. directing us. I pray we lean in and heed His presence in us today.

  • When I was a teen, I was involved with a youth retreat center. I was vaguely aware that they held retreats for adults as well. When I married my husband, I learned that his family was very involved there with the adult program. All his sisters and their spouses and both his parents made a Cursillo weekend at that retreat house, and I was not having any of it. I had put that part of my life (not God, just that center) behind me. FFWD many years, and my husband went and made a retreat. I told him.. that’s great, but I’m still not going. Then my MIL asked me if I would consider going on a specific weekend, and I said thanks, but I’m not interested in. Then.. weeks later at a funeral, I saw a priest who I had known from my youth, who came up, gave me the biggest hug ever, told me how much he had always loved me and hoped I was well. Then, asked if I would consider coming on retreat, for the same weekend my MIL asked about. Well, I’m no dummy, of course I went. When God calls, you can either choose to say no, or you put on your big girl pants and say yes.

  • Yes he speeches to us we just have to wait are time comes when we don’t think about it, I was in a women’s study and my pastors wife ask me to do a 15 mins talk at our retreat one year and I look at her and said me, she really didn’t know me, she said pray about it, and that I did, a whole week went by and I got nothing, the need week came and still nothing, one night 3 days before the retreat, I got it in my ear, you have been quit for 45 plus yrs it’s time to share, and that I did, it was so many women that was bless to open up, and let go. I have never been so happy and BLESS that I was free from man’s power, praise God for his timing always.. Amen ?

  • Dear sisters in Christ,
    Sometimes we underestimate, the beauty and majesty of His power, but He is always there no matter what are our circumstances. Jennifer in her writings has inspired women of all ages, races, and with different life paths and challenges, but in her words of inspiration, God the father, Jesus the Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit speak to us.

    In my personal experience, I have heard Him speaking through me all my life since my first memory of my grandma telling me to hurry to make it to church on time when I was 3-4 years old, to the moment I got my first personal bible when I was 11 years old and yearning to read it daily, to my years when I arrived to this country not speaking a word of English and having Him whispering you can do this, to the year I was accepted to Baylor University and heard him whisper you can do this, to my lost years of adventure in college where he whispered, I’m still here and you can get out of this if you just trust in Me unconditionally, to the year I met my husband and he whispered, He is a keeper, to the year I was 8 months pregnant and my husband and I were hit by a drunk driver and the years of financial hardship that follow and he said, Be still and know that I’m God and I’m still with you, to the year my son was born and he said, He is your gift, to the year I completed my masters degree and he whispered, I knew you could do it!…to my many years of blessings and hardships in my life, in my daily devotional, in my journaling, in my bible readings with pink highlights accumulated over the years, to finding inspiring words like Loop, book I read, or just each time I breath on a spring morning and see a cardinal in my back yard, and see my Koi fish on my pond, or see my 4 dogs running and playing, and I see my son going off to college soon, and my husband and growing older together, and He whispers I am still here and I still have great plans for you, plans to give you a future and a hope?

    • Oh, Lelis, how you bless me with your words. I am about in tears. I love how you hear Him, and I am so grateful for how you move my heart to Him. You help me see Him. Thank you, sister.

  • I remember being at evenings like this when a speaker shares things with others, always secretly hoping something said would be for me! I think that would still be my hope today. However, gratefully, today I hear God daily in my heart, His still, soft voice. At times I wonder if it’s really God and not my imagination and then He reassures me through His word, another’s voice, a message…a confirmation. Not always, but sometimes. I’m truly grateful at Captivating in Colorado in 2013, while praying with me, a woman touched my arm and got my eyes and said, “God loves to laugh with you!”. I immediately knew which voice was His! It truly was amazing and I’ve been listening ever since!! Great post!

    • Hi Chandra, I love that you relate to these feelings of longing for His voice. What you describe is such a similar experience as mine. And I went to Captivating in Colorado a few years ago too! Such a beautiful–and powerful–retreat.

  • I love hearing these stories, and I long for Him to speak to me but right now, I’m in one of those ‘desert’ places. His speaking is more of a showing as He takes me through things about me that need to change, or gently highlights wounds in my soul that need to be healed. I know this time is finite, that the wilderness is necessary but still… I wish I could feel Him closely…

    • Hi Pauline,

      I recognize this place you describe. It is good here, but difficult, I know. I pray for His protection over your heart as You trust Him to go in deeper, helping you to surrender fully. What a beautiful journey this is. He is close, dear one.

  • I definitely had the same experience last week, were I wanted God to speak to me and that particular day it didn’t happen. I attended the Azusa Now event in LA and while I praying a friend’s friend was praying with us and then God used him to speak to me. I wasn’t expecting it but it was most certainly timely and exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. God is so good even when we don’t understand what he is doing, He is always faithful.

    • Hi Shani, I love how He plants in us a desire to hear Him, and how we recognize His voice in so many different ways and situations. I am encouraged by you! Thank you!