This was the question I was asked. My reply had to be ‘Yes,’ yet I remembered my aunt’s reaction when a nephew, recently become a Christian, had given up his job, declaring God had spoken to him.
‘I’m sure, if God had chosen to speak to someone, it would not have been to him.’ She had found him an arrogant teenager.
But when Jesus was on earth it was the outcasts, the sinners whom he chose as his friends; maybe some arrogant teen agers among them. He said he didn’t come to save the respectable people but those who were lost.
So I had no problem in answering my friend that yes, God did speak to me. But now she wanted to know, ‘What does his voice sound like?’ I am still pondering over that one. She insists that God uses our own voice, only deeper.
It was through reading ‘the Calvary Road,’ that I first realised that I was found among the ‘whosoever’s’ for whom Christ died. In acknowledging him somehow a miracle had happened and he had become the centre of my life. It became natural that I should speak to him and that he should answer me, the Bible now a living book.
I had been visiting an elderly friend who had been nursing her father and now also her husband. Crying out to God that it was all too much for her, she had been devastated when it was her beloved husband who had died. Not only was her heart broken, but her legs were covered in terrible sores.
I went to my room and kneeling before an open Bible, I read, ‘He binds up the broken in heart and heals their wounds.’ God was speaking directly into this situation, and yes, he did bring healing to dear Auntie Em.
Struggling to control over forty under fives, as a young teacher I complained, ‘Lord, I cannot teach these children.’ ‘But will you love them for me?’ came the reply. I was not conscious of an audible voice, but I knew deep within my being that God had answered, and I still know the Lord enables me to love the children for him.
But my new found salvation was making a rift between the teachings of my childhood. I remember crying out to God, ‘Lord, it was so easy for your disciples. All they had to do was to follow Jesus, and I am having to find out what is right and what is wrong.’ His reply, deep and sure, resonated through my being. ‘No, it is just the same for you. It is just for you to follow Jesus.’ ‘Lord, if that is true, then make it so plain that it is either to choose you or to deny you.’ – I don’t know if I had spoken out loud either, but this was a very real conversation and one that has affected my whole life. God did make it just so plain, and he still does when I am faced with a big decision.
In my book, Wings of the Morning, you will find many reminiscences of how God has spoken to me. But now, once more living alone, I daily open my bible, expecting to find some word there from God’s father heart, and I walk through the day sharing my life with my Saviour.
How does God speak? Certainly I am not conscious of any other accent that that of my own. I know that God does sometimes speak in an audible voice. On the three occasions when the Father spoke to his Son, some had thought it was thunder. It was in this way that he spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus.
A friend of mine, in great distress, had gone into a church and God spoke to her in a voice so loud she had put her hands to her ears, and yet the ladies, cleaning in another part of the building, had heard nothing.
Should we think it strange that God should speak to us? God spoke, and the world was brought into being, and Jesus himself is God’s final word. God spoke to Abraham, and later to Moses, as to a friend but later he spoke through his prophets.
When I came into the Apostolic church I heard God speaking through those with a gift of prophesy, and I received many personal words which have been very precious to me. But then I would be amazed, in reading the Bible, that these truths that they had brought to apply personally to my life were already there in this sacred book.
I remember trembling as I had dared to speak out prophetic words, wondering that this should be, only to find later that this was indeed God’s word, already written in his book.
‘It’s old, yet ever new,’ we used to sing, and it is wonderful to be in a church where God will take these ancient words, and apply them to our hearts and to our situation as something fresh and living.
But however we hear the word, whether an audible voice, one spoken quietly into our hearts or through a prophet, we must test the message against the written word of God, for we are at best frail vessels.
But Yes, Yes, Yes, is my answer to this question. God speaks to me, and I can come to him, expecting him to speak into any situation that arises in my live.
‘He walks with me and he talks with me..’ is another old song.
Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie, were in the terrible Ravensbrook concentration camp. On one occasion they were ordered to go to another part of the complex. It gave the sisters a rare occasion to converse without fear, but Corrie remembers it as a three way conversation. They were walking and talking with the Lord. Did they both hear his audible voice, or were they so in tune that they were hearing together in the depths of their beings? We don’t need to know, but we do need to know that God speaks, and he is looking for those who will listen.
He says, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.’
So maybe there is another question I need to answer, for God says, ‘today, if you will hear my voice…’. Am I hearing, and most of all, obeying his voice today?