“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:13
I love when it’s the end of the day and I get to spend time rocking our littlest before putting him to sleep. It’s about the only time now that I slow down enough to savor the quiet before falling asleep myself. For some reason, one particular night was darker than usual in the room. Soon I heard a little voice say, “I can’t see you, Mommy.”
I was quick to assure him that even though he couldn’t see me, he could hear my voice and he could feel my arms wrapped around him as we rocked together in the chair. He accepted that answer to a degree, but it was evident he was still bothered by the fact that he couldn’t see my face.
As I continued to quietly rock him, rubbing his back and talking softly, soon his breathing became more relaxed and even. I thought about how similar that is in our relationship with God. We can’t see Him in the physical sense, although we can see His blessings all around us. As I tried to explain to my three-year-old, we can feel Him and most importantly, we can hear Him. And I love that.
I love that He speaks to me through various methods and the more I listen for His voice, the more attuned I become. I hear Him in the innocence of my child who says, “I didn’t know if I made the right choice today, mom, so I bowed my head at my desk and asked Jesus to let me know if I needed to tell the teacher or keep quiet.” I hear Him through Bible verses that my attention is drawn to after I have specifically prayed for a solution to a problem. I hear Him through devotionals, blogs, friend’s encouraging words, and when I hear the same message more than once, I definitely sit up and take notice.
I love to talk back to God, making sure that I’m hearing Him correctly, and I love it even more when He answers my requests by giving me the “billboard answer” that I so desperately need sometimes. My desire is to obey Him, so I don’t think He minds telling me more than once, when asked for reassurance, His direction for my life. He knows I don’t want to waste time taking detours. One particular example was when I was first hearing God wanted me to begin a writing career. I wasn’t a writer, not really. I had started writing a book years ago, not dreaming of publishing it, just for myself. A way of expressing myself without expecting anyone else to see it. I had started it six years ago, wrote for about a year, and then put it away. Life happened, I got busy, and eventually forgot about the book sitting in a file on my computer. One day, God spoke to me as plainly as though He was sitting right next to me. “Finish your book.”
I hate to admit it, but I argued with God (respectfully). I reminded Him how busy I was, how I wasn’t a writer anyway, and how I had other things that were important to do. “Finish your book.” (No explanation was needed – He told me only what He wanted me to know.) I tried my arguments one more time, because after all, maybe He didn’t hear me or maybe He forgot who He was asking to fulfill this task. “Finish your book.” (I’m surprised He didn’t get really mad at me by now, but no, He’s very patient and because He created me, He understands that I’m a little thicker than most when it comes to “getting the message.”)
I finally said, “okay,” and not knowing what path He was placing me on, took one step at a time, asking for guidance all along the way. And so I did, and that book is still on the shelf, but in its’ place, God has blessed me beyond measure, just two short years since He uttered the words, “Finish your book.”
God led me to people who have lovingly guided me on the path of writing and while I still have a lot to learn, I’m a lot further down the path than I was. And all because I was attuned to His voice.
My prayer is first that you hear the voice of God in your own lives. It takes practice but the more you focus and go to Him with a humble heart, asking Him to speak to you, the more He will answer. Second, I pray that we as parents teach our children how to listen to that voice as well. He is sometimes soft, sometimes loud, always patient, always truthful, and always wanting us to willingly obey. I love that God is so personal that He continues to gently nudge His children until we are following the direction that He knows is best. Unless we are willfully defiant and flat out refuse to obey, He is patient, kind, and loving as He helps us get from where we are to where He wants us to go. And the faster we choose to obey, the greater and sooner our blessings appear from doing His will.