I had to laugh when I read this quote, “Why is it when we talk to God we are said to be praying, and when God talks to us we’re said to be schizophrenic?” -Lily Tomlin. So true! I am even surprised myself when God talks to me. I smile and think, “No one is going to believe this.” But God does talk! I don’t claim to be an expert on how God communicates, I just know it happens, and not just to me but it is a common phenomenon among believers. Cool, huh? So, what does He say? Well to me, He mostly says: “Stop being snotty, Sara.” I have a bad attitude at times and God likes to nip it in the bud. But there are other, more impressive incidents as well.
There were a few times when I woke up in the middle of the night with the strong impression to pray for a specific person, and discovered later that the person was in a life threatening situation at the time of the emergency prayer. I also found out that I was not the only one that woke up at that time to pray for them, others prayed too. One time I was driving home from work after a stressful day and felt like God was telling me to stop at a co-workers house. This is not my usual M.O. I am not particularly social after a day of work, but I did give in to God and stop. My co-worker was in tears, and we just sat and talked, hugged, and cried together for the next hour. She had suffered a great loss that year and just needed someone to listen.
Another time I worked the evening shift and was driving home after midnight. It was one of the coldest days of the year and the weather service was advising people to stay indoors. I was tired, and as I was driving I started to head for the highway, the fastest route. Then I felt a strong urge to turn onto the county road and take “the long way home.” I “heard” a very loud voice in my head saying “turn here.” I smiled, laughed, and then prayed, “OK, God, this seems nuts, but I will ‘turn here.’” Less than a mile down the road a truck was pulled over and a young man was standing in the road waving his arms. I pulled over. He and his brother were driving a truck for their family’s out of state business and ran out of gas. They pulled off the highway looking for a gas station; it was closed, and now they were stuck. In our area most gas stations close after 10 or 11 PM. I knew the only one that was open was 20 minutes away. There were no houses or businesses near the place they pulled off. I called my husband and he was able to fill a gas can and give them enough fuel to make it to the gas station. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t make that turn? Wow God, pretty cool!
How does God talk? His voice can boom with immense power, “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.” Psalm 29:3-5.
Or, it can be still and small: “The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” I Kings 19:11-12.
Another meaningful way that God communicates is through His word. The other ways are incredible, and induce awe, but daily time in God’s word is also life changing. Learning from Him through reading the Bible is what sustains us, convicts, changes, and keeps our hearts on track. Our God is not silent. He may use silence at times, and other times He speaks! Sometimes He uses the huge voice to grab our attention, sometimes He whispers, and other times He speaks through His word, to teach us, call out to us, commune with us and refresh our souls. His voice is real! It says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20.