Listening Lesson 1: God still speaks.
Comedian Lily Tomlinson once asked, “Why is it that when we talk to God it is called prayer, but when God talks to us it is called schizophrenia?!” It is probably appropriate to maintain a level of skepticism when people claim that God has talked to them. After all people have used that as a reason to do everything from leaving their families, quitting their jobs, and moving far away to a strange place to doing more violent things such as killing people or declaring war on another nation or ethnic group. However, the Bible clearly shows God speaking directly to many people including Abraham, Moses, and Samuel to the prophets to kings like David. God communicates with Mary and Joseph to set the first Christmas in motion. Down through history many Christian figures have also heard God’s voice. Some have delivered prophetic words about future events which came true. Others like Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman were sent on missions by that voice. E. Stanley Jones said, “Does God speak? Strange if He shouldn’t.” Indeed why would God bring us into relationship and then cease to communicate with us? As one pastor of an earlier day noted,”God, you have brought us too far to dessert us now!” Dallas Willard observed that this issue presents Christians with a “paradox”; we believe God speaks and gives personal guidance but we are uncertain just how that works. I thought that while we might have a bit more time on our hands during the pandemic that this could be a good time to explore not only how God speaks but how we can listen for that Voice. After all Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice. I know them and they follow me.” Our relationship with Jesus flows from our ability to hear and follow. Perhaps this sounds like possibility to you. Or maybe it sounds too strange. Before you write off the possibility of hearing God’s voice, let’s examine it together. If you are already listening for that Voice, let’s sharpen our ability to recognize that Voice. God’s voice is not superfluous to the life of faith. I believe that we will find it to be essential. ~David