For a long time, I had struggled to recognise God’s voice. I say recognise because I believe the issue wasn’t that God was being silent, but that I was not yet familiar with his voice.
In John 10, Jesus explains that He is the good shepherd, and that as his followers we are his sheep. In verse three, Jesus says, “the sheep listen to His voice”, and the passage goes on to say that the sheep follow the shepherd because they know/recognise/are familiar with His voice. This passage showed me a huge key that I was missing when it came to hearing God’s voice. I hadn’t been listening.
I had this deep hunger to hear God speak, and wanted the intimate relationship with Him that I heard people talk about in church. At the same time I would approach my time with God with no intention of letting him get a word in.
I read the bible like I was completing a chore. There were times I would find a cool verse and highlight it, but I didn’t practice meditating on what I was reading.
I would come to God with my head full of unanswered questions, concerns, and the tasks I needed to do afterwards. Once I had offloaded all the things in my head, I would say thank you and be on my way.
"It showed me a huge key that I was missing when it came to hearing God’s voice. I hadn’t been listening."
I never took time to stop, be still, and give my full attention to simply be with Jesus. Like the sheep in John 10, I needed to practice listening to God’s voice, learn to recognise it, and then follow it. Easier said than done.
The process highlighted parts of my character that I needed God to work on. Often I would wrestle with my own unbelief, my lack of patience, and my to do list which always seemed more important at the time.
But as I persisted, here’s what I found – God speaks through his Word! As I read the scriptures without the attitude of “I need to get something from this”, there would be moments where I stumbled across gold. Sometimes God would highlight a promise that I really needed to hear that day, or reveal something of his character that would blow my mind. Reading the bible actually became enjoyable!
"Being still is the hardest thing to persist with, but it’s so worth it."
Not only that, but the more I read the bible, the more I could declare the truth about who God is when I prayed. My faith increased as I started believing what I was speaking, and my concerns and questions didn’t seem so big and urgent after all.
Then there’s being still. It’s the hardest thing to persist with, but it’s so worth it. God also speaks when I am quiet and waiting in his presence – not saying anything, not thinking about the things I could be doing, just being still. Sometimes He’ll speak, sometimes He won’t, and it’s totally okay if He doesn’t say anything! I have learnt even when you can’t hear Him speak or feel His presence; just being with Him is enough.
When He does speak, He is like the good shepherd in John 10. God calls me by name, and leads me so I can follow Him.
Keely McLeod, a C3 College 3rd Year Music Industry student, hungry for God to Spêak.