This is a series about my word for 2015, which is LISTEN. In my last post, I talked about listening to the Scriptures - G-d's Holy Word. This post will be about listening to His voice.
I remember as a little girl, in church, reading this verse in John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me.
I remember feeling puzzled over that because I didn't hear G-d's voice. I assumed it was an audible voice. Looking back now, I see that I was hearing His voice. I heard my teacher in Sunday School and my preacher who told me I must accept Jesus as my Savior, and be baptized. He was speaking to me through them, and I obeyed. That was a part of my journey to learning about Him, although it was not the first time I had heard His voice.
I first began to hear His voice at an even younger age, probably at four or five years old. I heard my aunt and grandmother talk about G-d, and how He would help us when we were in trouble or worried. That was the voice of G-d speaking through them. I took that word to my heart, and called on G-d when my parents were fighting. I called on Him to help me when my father was out drinking, and my mother was crying. I called on Him many, many times when I couldn't sleep at night because of my fears. I would lie in my bed and call on Him. He would calm my heart as I remembered to sing the song my aunt taught me, "Count Your Blessings." I'd sing it softly and think of the good things in my life.
As I grew, and studied the Bible more, I learned to memorize Scripture. Those words are His voice, and I depended on them through my teen years, and into adulthood.
When I was twenty-eight years old, I came to a point of deep surrender in my life. I got on my knees, and gave Him my everything. After that, I learned to recognize His voice speaking to my mind. This has been an adventure. At times, I thought I was listening to His voice, but it turned out to be my own will. It took time to make sure I was following Him, and not my flesh.
I learned to spend time with alone with Him daily. I pray, read the Scriptures, and be still. I listen for His voice. I write in my journal. Sometimes as I read the Scriptures, a verse will seem to jump out, or illuminate. This is Him speaking to me. Always, always....when I just sit still, I will hear His voice. His voice is a still, small voice that speaks in my mind. I guess it could be called a thought, but it is different, somehow. I have learned, through trial and error, to trust that voice...and I have been blessed.
Here is an example: I moved away from Jacksonville, Florida about twenty-five years ago, and often said I would never, ever live there again. I love the country life. I had been here about ten years, when I would have this thought constantly running through my head: move back to Jacksonville. This went on for several weeks. I prayed about it, and heard my L-rd tell me this was what He wanted me to do. I started looking for a place to live, and for employment. Everything fell neatly into place very, very quickly.
I moved back to Jacksonville, and within a few months, both of my parents (in Jacksonville) became very ill. My mother had breast cancer and had to go through surgery, chemo, and radiation treatments. My father had severe complications due to several illnesses. At one point, both of them wound up in the hospital at the same time. They needed my help during that time, and G-d knew what was coming long before I did. He spoke to me and prepared me to be there so that I could be of service to them.
After two years, when my assignment was over, I began to hear: move back home (central Florida). I listened and began to seek employment here. Doors opened immediately, everything fell in place, and I moved back to the part of Florida that I call paradise. G-d is so good to me, and His guidance is perfect.
His voice is so tender and sweet, but I remember a time (prior to the Jacksonville lesson), when I decided I didn't want to hear Him any more. I had gone through a period where I had listened to my flesh, all the while telling myself it was His voice. I paid a very high price for that mistake. I grew angry with myself for being so stupid, and I am sad to say, grew angry with G-d, though it most certainly wasn't His fault. I was foolish and wanted my own way. I really identified with Elijah at this point.
I remember this so vividly. I had made a disastrous mistake about G-d's voice, so I told myself there was no point in talking to Him or listening to Him any more. That night, I told G-d I didn't want to hear His voice any more, The next day, I did not hear His voice all day. My mind felt void, empty, black, like the death of a loved one. It was the most awful, cold feeling I've ever had in my life. I could not go on like that. I had to hear His sweet voice speaking to my broken heart. I called out to Him for forgiveness. With tears, I asked forgiveness for my pride, and my foolish decisions. I begged Him to speak to me again.
Immediately, He spoke to me, "I love you, my child." Just as He ministered to Elijah in his brokenness, He ministered to me and restored me to the closeness I'd known before. That experience taught me to be very careful before taking drastic actions. He is a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father.
Oh, my dear Gail-Friends, if you don't hear His voice, you are missing something so wonderful, so calming, so peace-giving. If you don't have that joy, I pray you will receive it. I can't say it any better than this video of my daddy's favorite song, "In the Garden":
I'm linking up today with: