Camille Lynn McCoy
Christians sometimes use terms and expressions that other Christians can understand simply because they have experienced the same things. I call this language “Christianese” and “hearing from God” is just such a phrase. The context of the word “hearing” sends a message that only the ear hears the message. However, God speaks to us in many ways other than audibly. Some Christians understand that “hearing from God” doesn’t necessarily mean that He speaks in audible tones like He was recorded to have done during the Old Testament times. But even Christians sometimes limit their relationship with God because the phrase “hearing from God” sends the wrong message to them. So that I can share with others when I “hear” from God, I have tried to think of words other than “hear” to express the manner in which I have received His guidance. I try to think of terms that describe my experience so others can understand what I mean without immediately blocking my message because they think I must be delusional or imagining things. I love to read Rob Payne’s articles in the Williamson paper and think it is a great idea to have people write-in with their experiences and testimonies. I wonder if the reason some don’t take him up on this invitation is because they don’t know exactly how to express what they have experienced without sounding like they are nuts! So let me try, as an example, to express and testify that God does indeed “speak” to us in many ways if only we are open to “hear” Him in whatever way He chooses to communicate. I don’t have enough room in a short column to cover the vastness of God’s ways, but I can start by telling you some ways He has opened my “eyes” and mind. When I jump off the rollercoaster of life or exit the rat race of life long enough to take a look around the earth, I marvel at it and see that there is nothing random about the our planet or the universe. The beauty and synchronization of how it all works and how it all remains in place must be one way God starts conversations with even unbelievers. The communication has nothing to do this “hearing” and has to do with “seeing.” As a more personal example, let me share how God has “spoken” to me of late. When I seek out answers to major disappointments and life trials, I have learned to speak to God in prayer. As I pray about an issue (sometimes for days, months, and even years), something beyond myself and my own desire makes changes in my personal character and outlook. Lifelong viewpoints and opinions about people and situations begin to change from negative (sinful) to positive (Christ-like) without me forcing it to change. The change is so powerful and brought on without intention or through practice, that I know my new viewpoint and attitude came from somewhere other than me. It comes with a peace and assurance that I am about to do the right thing. My heart changes. My viewpoint changes. My thoughts and actions change. And I take notice that the change is wanted and is one that is in line with what Jesus would do and the Bible would advocate. I know it is God “speaking” to my heart and mind to move in a direction I would never choose to take on my own or one that I could not make myself do. I also can see I did nothing but speak to God in prayer and ask for relief from my situation or peace within it. And God “speaks” back to me by going to work on changing what I could not (and probably would not even choose) to change on my own. Yes, I testify that God speaks to me. And although the message is not audible, it is loud and clear. It is life enhancing and peaceful. I pray for you to listen for Him. He is definitely speaking.