“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27 NIV)
If you are in BSF, you’ll probably recognize that verse from the lesson we took home over the Christmas break. It just completely stuck out to me. What exactly does it mean to hear His voice? I’ve been thinking of writing about this for some time, but it seems so “out there” and crazy to me that I stop myself. Which is funny, because hearing his voice is what it means to follow Jesus.
With that in mind, I want to ask a simple question: Have you “heard” His voice? If we follow Christ, we have already done the first and probably most important step: we heard Jesus calling, and decided to follow. Our salvation is here, and He lives in us. But in your walk, have you heard/felt/seen His voice?
One of the ways I know for sure that I can hear Him is through scripture. It’s kind-of obvious when John 1:1 flat out says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God” (NIV). It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve found to learn to recognize the “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12), and a surefire resource to test what I’ve heard or seen all around me.
However, hearing Him has also happened to me in a more supernatural way, for lack of a better description. I’m always freaked out when it happens. Yet, it’s a blessing and a huge boost to my faith. After all, we have the Holy Spirit; our God is supernatural. I know for a fact I’ve “heard” this gentle voice because it is always followed by the deepest feeling of peace and joy.
Once, I had a vision for the person standing behind me. We were praying and asking God to speak (Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”). I had no idea who it was, and I hadn’t seen her. In the picture was a farm with a duck and her ducklings in the pond. I just felt this feeling that God was like the duck. He’d been imprinted in the person behind me like the mother to the ducklings. So, with uncharacteristic boldness and without turning around, I explained what I had seen. The girl behind me was wearing an Oregon Ducks sweatshirt and proceeded to cry! I found out later that what I had said was an answer to a question she had been asking God. In this case, not only was my faith boosted, but everyone who was there got to experience it, too. It was wild.
This is not a story that I tell lightly. I have a bit of anxiety knowing this will be up on the internet. But I tell it because when God speaks, it is faith-boosting. I don’t have a theology degree, and so I can only go off my experiences. Part of the reason why I’ve been stuck on this verse is that it hasn’t happened in a while. It got me thinking, what can I do to seek Him out so I may hear? As stated, the scriptures are there, and His voice is in the Word, constantly speaking. That can carry over to having others speak into your life; God placed many people there for a reason.
When I desperately want to call out with a humble heart like Samuel, saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” (1 Samuel 3:10), I can have faith knowing He will answer, because we are in relationship. You converse in a relationship! However, not to be forgotten, there might be some sin, something that’s not of God, or an unyielded heart that hinders me from hearing properly. Finally, I need to have an abundance of patience. In the end, we must wait for God to hear His voice.
Miel can be reached by email here.