Is it really possible to hear the actual voice of God? I believe that it is, and this is part two of a short series on how to actually hear God’s voice. If you missed part one, where I write about ways God speaks more directly, click here: God speaks! I believe God can speak “directly” using the Bible, a clear voice in your mind, an audible voice, and a slightly brighter thought, among other more obvious methods of communication.
God also speaks more indirectly, or subtly, using a vast array of different methods, and this post will only be a skim and a summary, and I will probably fail to mention several categories. My personal favorite ways of hearing God’s more indirect voice include answered prayer, music, books, peace or lack thereof, and God’s beautiful creation. So let’s get started!
God speaks to us through creation. This is probably my favorite way of hearing the subtle voice of God. For me personally, whenever I marvel at something beautiful in creation (like a sunset or mountain view), deep praise rises within me and I find myself wanting to thank and praise God for his awesome creativity. I believe that God speaks in creation to both prove his existence and to display how awesome he is!
One time on a mommy vacation, I went to a beautiful tropical island for a few days. One afternoon I had some time to do some snorkeling right outside of my hotel room and saw the most beautiful tropical fish underwater. When the sun was shining on them, they lit up from within and the colors were so beautiful and striking. I kept noticing how perfectly the colors coordinated on these small creatures. But then these beautiful little fish would travel into the shade and their colors would no longer shine; they would become dull. I could not see their beauty. In that moment a thought popped into my head: “Heather, you are like these fish. You need my light shining through you so you can shine brighter for me.”
God speaks through blessings and answered prayer. God will show how much he loves us by blessing us with really cool gifts. A few years ago my childhood bestie, Hillary, was dying of terminal cancer. I had taken her to a Heart concert where we were enjoying the opening act from the nosebleed section. Hillary was an atheist but very open to talking about God, and we had discussed prayer and “signs from God” quite a bit. It was announced that there was a “front row seat” contest which we promptly entered from our phones. Hillary turned to me and said “Heath, you should pray and ask God to let us win this contest! That way we can see if he exists!”
“Oh no!” I thought secretly to myself. God does not always answer our prayers in the manner and timing we would prefer! However, I decided to give it a shot and bowed my head and said a prayer that God would bless us with front row seats. Sure enough, we won the contest! We had one of the best times of our lives rocking out in the front row!
Hillary received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior two weeks before she died. The moment she bowed her head and prayed with me is one of the best moments of my entire life. She’s now in heaven where I believe she is praying for me and watches over me. I can actually feel her prayers from heaven!
God speaks through Christmas: Have you ever really stopped and listened to traditional Christmas music? We all glibly sing Christmas hymns without really focusing too much on the lyrics, but many of the songs clearly and unmistakably share the good news of the arrival of Christ Jesus! Let’s look at a few verses of some of the more popular songs:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!
Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth!
Hark now hear the angels sing, a King was born today. And man will live forever more because of Christmas day!
Every year for about a month, people all over the world can hear God speak to them about the good news of Jesus, whom he sent to save the world from their sins and so we can have access to eternal life in heaven!
God speaks through unlikely means, including pain. Sometimes God speaks to us in our distress as a way to draw us to himself and so that we will turn to him for comfort and help, and maybe save us from something that is coming up in our future life.
God also speaks through loneliness. I believe what God may be saying is “I know you are lonely. I see you! I love you and I want you to know how much I love you! Open your heart up to having a relationship with me. I will fill up those lonely spots. I see your tears. I have created you for a purpose. I have a plan for your life!”
(By the way, the short paragraph above was not in the original draft. I just added it. I believe someone needs to hear it. Maybe it’s a person contemplating suicide. Why did I write it? It was a thought that would not go away.)
God is also a huge fan of speaking to us in unlikely and unusual ways. There is even a passage in scripture of God speaking through a donkey! An example of God using unusual methods happened to my mom back in the early 1980’s. At the time, she was a single mom of two young girls who happened to be a firm agnostic. She was absolutely not looking for God, but you know the rest!
One day, as she was reading a book by Edgar Cayce, a secular clairvoyant and prophet, there was one sentence that stood out to her about Jesus Christ. Cayce said that Jesus Christ had fulfilled prophecy. In that moment, my mom says a voice spoke directly to her and said the following:
“Linda, I exist. What are you going to do about it?”
That one sentence launched her on a spiritual journey where she eventually came to a place where she ended up believing not only in God, but also in Jesus Christ. God used an unlikely book to change her life and the lives of her two little girls. One of those little girls grew up to be a non-famous blogger of this post you are reading.
God speaks through everything: God speaks through other people, technology, books, all forms of media, music, movies, Internet blogs, the weather, dreams, visions, accidents, pain, coincidences (I call them God-winks), blessings, circumstances, and the list goes on. Another indirect way of God speaking happens to me when I go to church or listen to a sermon online. Suddenly, the pastor will say something that hits close to home and applies perfectly to what I am going through.
Here are a few more ways that God can speak to you…
- You will feel a peace
- You will feel restless
- Your way will seem blocked
- Your way will open up
- You will have a burden for something
- Answered prayer
- Unanswered prayer
- An idea that won’t go away
- A “divine appointment” with someone
- One word (or number) that keeps coming up
- Something unusual or miraculous that happens
- Someone will tell you about Jesus Christ
- You will feel a conviction of sin
Here is the bottom line of this post: God speaks more than we realize. He usually speaks a bit more indirectly, although for newbies he actually tends to be more obvious. God will draw people who do not yet know him with both his love and his conviction of sin. He will always be consistent with his word (the Bible). God speaks to everyone a bit differently. It is a process to learn how to hear his voice.
Here is a hint I learned the hard way on how to hear from God. First, pray and ask God to speak to you. Wait a moment. If nothing happens, go about your life. After awhile, something will happen. It may be a voice, a thought, a circumstance, a blessing, or your mom will say something completely random that applies to something in your life. You will stop in your tracks and say to yourself, “Wait, was that God?”
Yes, it was! If you are not sure that God exists or even if he cares about you (or the rest of humanity), why don’t you say a prayer, asking him to reveal himself to you? And then sit back and see what happens. Give it a little time and don’t give up. Keep knocking! He will answer!
I want to close with a personal story that illustrates the concept of God’s indirect voice.
The blog that you are now reading is over four years old, but it really started nine years ago with an idea that would not go away. The idea was this:
You should start a blog.
That’s it. It was not even spoken in the King James Version. 🙂 I’m not even 100 percent sure the thought was from God. But the thought would not go away. I argued with myself for about four years before I began to pray about it. What stopped me from writing? I was afraid of failure and rejection. I was afraid that not even one person would ever read any of my posts.
This “loser blog” has now received over 15,600 views! I am grateful and humbled for everyone who has visited. My stats are very small potatoes compared to so many well-known bloggers, but my continual hope is that a seed of truth and faith will be planted in each reader that finds themselves on the pages of permission2speakfreely.com.
God is speaking! Be open to hearing his direct and indirect voice. He loves you!
Be open for surprises too!
You just might find yourself rocking out in the front row of one of your favorite bands!
If you missed part one, where I write about ways God speaks more directly, click here: God speaks!
7 thoughts on “God Speaks! How to (imperfectly) hear the indirect/subtle voice of God – Part II”
I had a “slightly brighter thought” to respond to “God Speaks, Part 1 and 2” followed by the urge to read them more than once.
I am a former blogger myself. Today, I paint with acrylics, I sell a few of them on rare occasion, while being a stay at home parent looking for a full time job. I might have too many hobbies and pursuits, but this is where I need that Voice. Thank you.
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Thanks for commenting Brian! I said a prayer about your job situation. We all need guidance from the Voice. God bless!
Also when I was pregnant with P, I was struggling to leave the classroom of my 4th grade “babies” and was sharing that I couldn’t wait to get right back into the classroom. A professing non believer said “so you would leave your baby to come back for everyone else’s babies?” I was rocked by that statement and shocked that it spoke so clearly to me. I NEVER forgot it and 11 years later I’m still raising my boys at home and subbing when convenient.
Three distinct times in my life I have had an impression or thought that I felt was God speaking to me that changed the course of my life and caused me to pivot.
1. moving to Washington DC after college, driving and hearing a lyric to a song that instantly brought tears to my eyes and a conviction of my heart. I wanted to move to VA Beach or Raleigh NC, not NOVA. But I knew it was a direct word for me. I moved within 2 months and lived there for 20 years.
2. College, broke off an engagement after knowing I was settling and a verse that seemed to jar me and convict me at the same time. Luke 9:62 It gave me the courage to end the relationship.
3. Leaving St Louis MO without a sense of where God was sending our family. It was lack of peace in one area that unsettled us and once we walked away from a job offer Mike and I both had peace.
Heather I appreciate the way you listed how we can hear from God. I have many small nudges along the way and one too personal to share on FB but I know he is involved in our lives and sometimes He is silent but oh how wonderful when he speaks!
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Hi Heather, thanks for sending, I enjoyed reading this. Just for the record, the spelling of the name of the false prophet is “Cayce”. But maybe you shouldn’t correct it because it may send an unwary seeker down a rabbit hole if they decided to go looking for it.
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Thx mom! I will correct it! Maybe the rabbit trail will lead the seeker back to God! Ha ha