“His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4b NIV)
Those words may cause us to wonder how we recognize the voice of God. How do we know when He speaks?
God speaks to us clearly through the words of the Bible. He also can speak to us through the action of His Spirit contacting our spirit with specific direction in a particular circumstance.
I believe that God spoke to me by His Spirit some years ago, surprising me with specific guidance.
How I wanted to go on a trip to Israel advertised on Christian television! I sent away for the pertinent brochure and pored over it. I told my husband, Eric, about it, and he urged me to go. As Eric spoke, a profound, wordless impression impacted my spirit with a definite “NO”. I was not to go.
Later, Eric asked if I had set up the arrangements, and I mumbled something about the trip being too costly. I didn’t know how to explain the spiritual message. As I had thrown away the brochure, he told me to send for another, and I did. When the matter was raised again, the same deep impression of “NO” came. I explained how I felt, and the matter was abandoned.
At the time of the trip to Israel, I found myself hospitalized in great pain. Surgery was necessary. How blessed I was to be in my hometown and not far away for this medical emergency!
In hospital, my room had two beds. The lady in the other bed had come in for gall bladder surgery. As we chatted, her surgeon came in and pulled the curtain between us. He told her that the surgery had revealed that she had incurable cancer. He could do nothing to help her. He left. Soon after, her family doctor came in and repeated the same message. He left.
I pulled aside the dividing curtain and reached for her hand. We held hands, and we wept.
Over the coming days, we chatted often. I told her about Jesus Christ. After discharge, I went to visit her from time to time. One evening, I took her to a Christian fellowship meeting. There, she received Christ as her Saviour.
As time passed, my friend’s face grew whiter and whiter as the cancer had its way. Then one day, I learned that she had passed from this life into the next. She had gone to be with her Saviour.
God speaks to us through His Word, through the words of others, or by giving us an inner communication through the action of His Spirit.
He invites us to pay attention to His messages, however we receive them, and walk in the direction that He reveals. As we walk in obedience, there can be times when we are amazed at the kingdom work that He accomplishes! Moreover, we receive much joy through His presence and His guidance.
Prayer: Loving God, create within us a hunger for Your Word and a heart of obedience, ready to do Your will. Enable us to have ears to hear and a spirit willing to walk in the light that You shed upon our paths. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
P.S. I did go to Israel in a later year.
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission