listening to His voice

When God is Silent

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.” Isaiah 55:10 (NLT)

It is difficult to understand why God is sometimes silent. Our routine of daily prayer and bible reading, our weekly attendance at church, our desire to live our lives for His glory all continue unabated and yet God is silent. Why? It seems so contrary to His nature and His love for us as revealed in His Son. Yes the heavens daily declare His glory and the earth shows forth His handiwork, we hear sermons and we read devotionals, all the while listening intently for His still small voice, but in the reverberation of it all, only silence. Why?

One of the most beautiful metaphors in all of scripture, describing how God speaks, is found in the writings of Isaiah the prophet. There God’s thoughts and words, proceeding from His mouth in heaven are likened to rain and snow that fall upon the earth. (Isaiah 55:9-11) The earth, representing the soil of our hearts, immediately receives the rain and absorbs its nourishment. We rejoice in hearing God’s words and anticipate with thankfulness the fruit that it will bear in our lives.

But what then when the seasons change? A growing darkness encroaches upon our days, chilly winds blow in from the north and our cold hearts begin to long for the warm spring and summer rains. But alas it is snow that starts to fall and as it blankets the soil of our hearts, it muffles the still small voice. As a season of dormancy sets in, the snow with its life giving moisture is frozen in time and space. God is silent. It is as if God’s very thoughts and words are sealed in a myriad of intricately beautiful, quiescent crystals.

This picture of God’s voice coming to us in the form of snow affords us a glimpse into the mystery of His silence.

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3 secrets to hearing God’s voice

I recently had a breakthrough in hearing God’s voice. With my wife leaving on a weeklong winter getaway with some family members, I decided that I would set aside that time to focus on my relationship with the Lord. There have been several big rock items in my life that I have been wrestling with for some time regarding God’s will and I determined to press into Him for some answers.

Originally I thought I would take a few days to get away by myself at a silent retreat center in the woods, but then was inspired instead to dedicate my home as my own silent retreat center. Basically I declared it a no media zone, simplified my schedule and spent my non-working hours in the morning and the evenings spending time in His presence.

For the Christian, one of the biggest challenges is developing the ability to tune into and listen to the Holy Spirit. God wants us to know His will for our lives through having full access to the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. I established that in my last blog post entitled “Limitless, beyond the movie.”

Since God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own we desperately need help to access and understand them. (Isaiah 55:8-9) In the New Testament we are told that the mind of Christ is revealed by the Holy Spirit. “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” He helps us to “understand what God has freely given us” by revealing “the mind of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13) That is “full access’ and is meant to be the norm for every believer and follower of Christ.

Setting aside my retreat week reconfirmed this truth for me and also reinforced the fact that there are things every believer can do to increase their ability to access the mind of Christ.

Here is my list of the top three things I did to position myself to hear God’s voice. When God chooses to speak, these three things will insure that you hear Him.

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