The other day, while I was sitting on my cozy, screened-in back porch, the wind suddenly began scuttling through the trees (which were fat and fragrant with autumn leaves), and the sound was like rushing water. If I’d closed my eyes I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The sound nearly took the breath from my lungs, and it unlocked something inside me. I began pondering an idea I’d been chewing on for a week. For the next few minutes, the idea solidified and took shape. There it is again, I thought. The voice of God.
As I said last week, some believers have heard the audible voice of God, but that’s never happened to me. For me, “God’s voice” often begins as an awareness of His presence, His nearness . . . and then a vague idea or impression becomes more and more specific as God begins to “download.” Sometimes this download is no more than a simple instruction—for example, “Say a kind word to the bank teller, she’s having an awful day”; other times, it’s as complex as a magazine article, in which case I go running for a pen and paper. Sometimes I can put what I hear into words, other times not.
If we say that God’s Word (that is, God’s voice) equals only what’s written in the pages of the Bible, we limit Him to a specific span of time (even though He knows no such limits) and specific words on a printed page. This would mean that God has spoken fewer words to His people than Stephen King has to his readers. Surely we don’t believe that.
The good news is that you don’t have to be in a “zen” environment to hear Him. I often hear God when surrounded by people or in the midst of much activity. For example, during a Manna Café event, while flanked by volunteers and guests, conversation and commotion, God is suddenly closer than my own skin, more real than the person in front of me. You might hear Him while walking the dog, teaching a seminar, or kissing your spouse. You might even hear God through avenues not necessarily intended to convey Him; for example, my spirit comes radically alive every time I listen to Coldplay’s “Clocks,” and several years ago God taught me a lifelong lesson through a scene in The Matrix.
God hasn’t stopped speaking to His children. Isaiah 30:21 tells us, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left” (NLT).