For the last 2 years, I’ve been collaborating with 27 of by closest friends on a project. The idea was to put together a book showcasing the many different ways in which God speaks. I’m happy to announce that the book God Speaks is now available. Here’s an excerpt from the book that was written by Matt Hallock.
God’s voice is near. It is accessible. It is ready. It is intimate.
The first time I remember hearing God speak to me was during the summer before my senior year of high school. It had been about six years since I had last seen my dad, and I was depressed, feeling alone in my struggle to become a man. Without my dad, I was afraid of life, afraid of failing, afraid of being found out as a phony Christian. I was under so much accusation from the enemy, and I believed most of it.
But I had made a habit of spending time seeking God. Granted, I did so out of desperation, trying to earn my sonship. I hoped that if I asked enough, He would take the time to invest in me the way my dad had not. But God, not caring as much about me getting it right as He did about being close with me, met me there.
One night I was in my bed, depressed as usual, reading my Bible. I came to Isaiah 64:8, which says:
But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
We are the clay, and you are our potter;
We are all the work of your hand.
All of a sudden, it was as if the world all around me stopped and heaven descended into my room. I broke down sobbing. I couldn’t contain it.
I didn’t hear any words with my ears or even in my thoughts. This time I didn’t need any. Holy Spirit had ripped this verse right out of my Bible and poured it all over me like oil and water and fire and wind. God was indeed my Dad. He would teach me how to be a man. He would give me my worth and my security. I didn’t need to fear failure or the opinion of other men or feel like I didn’t measure up because my Dad in heaven thought the world of me.
God’s Voice Is Simple
After this night, I started hearing God’s voice more regularly—yes through Bible verses, but also in my thoughts. Holy Spirit was conversing with me, as a friend. Simple. It didn’t always result in pivotal life-shattering moments, but it was no less precious to me.
Over the next few years, as I grew in discerning God’s thoughts from my own thoughts, our relationship became much more intimate and real than it had ever been before. I treasured His thoughts and really lived by them. So many times He would give me direction while I’d be praying. He’d gently urge me to give away $100, only to send me $100 back the next day. He’d tell me to ride my bike downtown to talk to a homeless man who needed His love. Or He’d just tell me what He thinks about me.
The funny thing about so many of us who wish we could hear God’s voice is that we think we need to hear it with our ears. Or we assume that whatever inaudible voice God uses will be obviously and unmistakably from Him. So we can get stuck thinking He just doesn’t speak to us, and we assume that hearing from Him is only for the select few, the elite, the ones who cracked the code and figured out a way into the kind of Christianity that we all want but don’t really think is possible anymore.
Most of what I heard from God wasn’t painfully obvious to me. It took faith. I had to choose to believe that these thoughts were from Him and not me. Yes, they were distinct in that they seemed to be dropped in my mind rather than generated from within it. But it’s so hard to be certain of that distinction. It really does take a child’s faith to grow in hearing God speak. But it’s better to believe that it’s God and be wrong than to never step out and break the paralysis of our own reasoning.