By: Jana Greene
Do you ever wish God used a megaphone? I do.
I have a couple of friends who are blessed with the ability to hear from God: that small, still voice, presenting audibly. I believe it is a gifting, the way speaking in tongues is a gifting, but not one of mine. At least not yet.
A few months ago, I felt like the Lord was telling me to quit my stressful job. (Convenient, right? That’s why I didn’t listen at first). I was experiencing health issues and as my doctor said, “something had to ‘give’. “ (As I live in a house with three daughters of the teenage persuasion, it was unlikely to ‘give’ at home.) And my creativity? Withering on the vine. By the end of the day, I was too tired to create anything, even dinner for my family.
“It’s ok,” I felt like my Father in heaven was telling my spirit. “Its ok to quit your job.”
But it was a good job; a full-time job, with benefits. Employment is hard to come by these days. So, I figured I must have misunderstood God. But the health issues got worse.
I wanted to be obedient, but I also wanted my 401-k and paid time off. In essense, I wanted assurance of a favorable outcome. Nevermind that, in thirty years of salvation, God has never given me a guarantee that “Plan B” will pan out. Even when I am absolutely sure that I am being obedient. But things have always worked out to the good. I suppose that’s why it is called a Leap of Faith, and not a Baby step of Certainty.
My prayers continued. Please, God….show me the direction to go.
“Write,” my interpretation of his voice said. “Quit your job, and write.”
Why would God, who knows all, advise me to do that? And what if I was hearing Him wrong? What if, because writing has always been my dream, I am hearing what I want to hear? The stakes are high here, there is much to lose.
But so, so much to gain.
For weeks, there was confirmation that it was time to quit. It was time to move on and take a risk. Still, I kept hoping that the clouds would break open, the sun shine upon me, and the booming voice God – who sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman in this scenario – would tell me what to do. (He also called me a “good and faithful servant” here, but I digress).
If that actually happened, it would not be a Leap of Faith on my part, I guess. It would be more a Baby -Step of Certainty.
If I want to hear what God is saying, I have to approach it with openness. I have to ask that He reveal His will. It seems so simple, but I forget to ask specifically sometimes, but still wait for an answer. Just asking is the first step.
I have to read what He has to say in His Word. I use The Message translation because it is plain to me, and although I enjoyed Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” as much as the next 10th grader in high school, I like to read The Word to read plainly, not in King James English. My soul digests the message easier when my brain doesn’t have to digest it first.
I’ve learned that other Believers are a resource that God expects us to tap into. I must ask for prayer, and listen to the advice of those who walk closest with Christ. (Different from taking a “poll” – which is what I mistakenly did at first. The reactions amongst my friends were split about 50/50, with “Wow! Good for you!” and “Are you CRAZY?” being the predominant reactions.)
My believing friends? Overwhelmingly supportive. When I ask them for prayer, there is always the chance that they might even hear audibly the confirmation that I received only from a gentle brush to my spirit.
I am so afraid to misunderstand, which of course, I will at times. It’s part of learning to discern God’s voice. My struggle is that even when I hear from God – quite unmistakably – I still question it.
JESUS (using megaphone): Quit your job and write.
ME: Get a mob at night? Fit the fob just right? Lob it out of sight? What, Lord, WHAT?
Maybe that’s why I don’t hear him audibly. If He did use a megaphone, I would no doubt complicate his command by over-analyzing. He really isn’t a drill sergeant anyway. He is love itself, patient and kind. SO patient and kind. And if I mis-heard? He will still use the experience to bless me and others, and to glorify Him. He is so awesome that way.
I quit my job, and I’m writing. I don’t know how long it will be before I need to find a paying job, I trust God will let me know. As for today, I have peace that passes understanding. As for today, I am healthier, if not wealthier, and my soul is “listening” for the next move.
That small, still voice that presents by brushing my spirit? It’s the sweetest sound.