Updated: Sep 29, 2020
When people talk about hearing God’s voice, what comes to your mind? Do you think of burning bushes, angelic beings, and a deep ominous voice? That’s what I used to picture, at least. But I’ve learned that not only does God speak in many ways, but He finds ways that are tailored to each of us.
In Mark Batterson’s book, “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God,” he claims that God has seven languages: Scripture, desires (Psalm 37:4), doors (opened or closed opportunities), dreams, people, promptings (The Holy Spirit), and pain. He believes that God speaks in a whisper so that you have to get close in order to hear. That means in order to hear Him, we have to get to know Him so we can recognize His voice. Scripture is the primary language and the most steadfast. We can really get to know God from reading; and if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know how important I believe it is to really focus on getting to know Jesus’ heart.
In my Bible study group, we took a close look at Matthew 21:18-22, where Jesus curses the fig tree. But what stuck out to me was what we learned in verses 21 and 22 which says,
“21Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
My small group concluded that “ask for anything you want” does not equal “the desires of your heart,” since Jeremiah 17:9 tells us,
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.”
So what could Jesus mean? We decided that Jesus wants us to have the type of faith that puts such trust in Him that we give up our own heart’s desires and seek to learn what He desires. When our hearts align with His, His power flows through us and we can produce fruit together, according to God’s will, not ours. It is when His will becomes our desire that we can do these big things.
Shortly after this discovery in our group, my son got sick with some nasty croup, and we had to go to the Emergency Department for steroids and breathing treatments. It’s not fun seeing your child struggle to breathe. As he slowly began recovering over the next few days, we saw light at the end of the tunnel. Things were less scary than before, but we weren’t out of the woods yet. I was walking to my car in a parking lot, about to return home with the prescription I had just picked up for him, and I spoke to God. I thanked him for my son’s recovery so far, but knowing he was still wheezing at home, I earnestly reminded God there was work to be done. I asked God why taking away my son’s wheezing and cough would not be covered under “ask for anything you want,” or why this particular request might not line up with His will. I prayed this knowing God would eventually reveal things to me and that He is good. I knew He would take care of us; I just didn’t know how or when. My main goal was to make God aware of my confusion so that I might get clarification. When I got in the car, I turned on my playlist and “I Won’t Let You Go,” by Switchfoot came on. (Listen here: https://youtu.be/pfUssvjj4rs ) I was in my own world for the very beginning of the song, but I felt prompted to tune into the lyrics and heard:
“None of this is in your control If you could only let your guard down You could learn to trust me somehow I swear, that I won't let you go If you could only let go your doubts If you could just believe in me now I swear, that I won't let you go I won’t let you go.”
I immediately knew this was God’s response to me. And in typical Jesus fashion, he addressed the most pressing issue: my trust in Him. Jesus’ priority was for my lack of trust and faith in Him to be brought to the light, while my (very human) first choice would have been quick and easy healing for my son. But where is the growth in that? It was exactly what I needed. My son got better shortly after, and through the trial, I grew in my trust and faith.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Jesus spoke clearly to me through music. My prayer is that you will learn to hear Jesus’ voice regardless of His chosen language. I also pray that you won't feel discouraged if you don’t have moments like these. I’ve learned that when I pray open-ended prayers like the one in the parking lot, God rises to the occasion. We oftentimes pray at Him, or ask Him uncomplicated questions, doubting his ability to reach us. But I would encourage you to ask Him whatever you want, just as if He were sitting in the chair next to you. Try it; give it time. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Keep seeking Him, and you will hear Him.
I Won’t Let You Go
When it feels like surgery And it burns like third degree And you wonder what is it worth? When your insides breaking in And you feel that ache again And you wonder What's giving birth? If you could let the pain of the past go Of your soul None of this is in your control If you could only let your guard down You could learn to trust me somehow I swear, that I won't let you go If you could only let go your doubts If you could just believe in me now I swear, that I won't let you go I won’t let you go When your fear is currency And you feel that urgency You want peace but there's war in your head Maybe that's where life is born When our façades are torn Pain gives birth to the promise ahead If you could let the pain of the past go Of your soul None of this is in your control If you could only let your guard down If you could learn to trust me somehow I swear, that I won't let you go If you could only let go your doubts If you could just believe in me now I swear, that I won't let you go I won’t let you go I'll always be by your side Yeah If you could only let your guard down If you could learn to trust me somehow I swear, that I won't let you go If you could only let go your doubts If you could just believe in me now I swear, that I won't let you go I won’t let you go (I won’t let you go) There ain't no darkness strong enough that could tear you out from my heart There ain't no strength that's strong enough that could tear this love apart Never gonna let you go Never gonna let you go No I won’t let you go