I used to think hearing God speak was a mystical experience, made available only to the holiest of holy people. And at best, it was a one-off – kind of like Abraham. He heard God say, “Go,” and then nothing for the next 20 years. Let me say for the record, I’ve been a Christian since I was 6 and I’ve had direction and leading from the Lord, but I never heard his voice. I didn’t know I could hear it and so I didn’t pursue it.
In 2003, I moved to a new community. My Man, my Boy and I changed from urbanites to suburbanites. It had been years and years since I had to choose a church and even then, I usually followed a friend. I didn’t know anyone in my new community so I made a very logical plan to choose a church: I picked 3 churches and I was going to make a visit to each of them 3 times and then I was going to make a decision.
Some time, during the first 3 weeks, I saw another church closest to my home that I thought I would add to my choices. Initially it wasn’t on the list because it was a Mennonite Brethren church and I had been trying to distance myself from the culture since leaving home after high school; I certainly didn’t want to be part of the faith.
On the 4th Sunday in my new community, I walked into the MB community church for the first time. As I walked into the foyer, I heard a voice – it seemed audible in my head, but it wasn’t. The voice said, “This is where you are going to serve.” Um, excuse me? That certainly wasn’t my voice. I wasn’t looking for a place to serve; I was looking for a place to meet my needs. It wasn’t Satan either because that would be sending me to work for the other team. That left only God.
I didn’t return to any of the previous 3 churches. I had found my church because God spoke to me and I heard it.
It’s been seasons of ups and downs at that church and throughout it all, I heard God speak. (You can read about it some of the recent changes in a post I wrote, here). Over the past 8 years, I’ve had other conversations with God. I’ve seen friends leave and I wandered whether it was my turn to leave but God always reminded me about what he said to me the first time.
Epilogue: God is always speaking but men haven’t perceived it (Job 33:14); once I learned the truth, I’ve been actively pursuing conversation with the Lord. Holiness is desired but isn’t required to hear God.