How a Quiet Heart May Not be the Key to Hearing God’s Voice

It is approaching midnight. The freeway is silent apart from the sound of an occasional passing car and the hum of the radio. I press the accelerator down heavily. In spite of my frivolity at dinner, I am not happy. A trail of unfulfilled promises that have piled up like unclaimed baggage in a holding room drag me into a melancholic reverie.

When is God going to deliver? Does he have any idea how slow he is?

Ep4_Lights at Night b

Annoyance and frustration simmers as I replay the events of the past few years. Acts of hard obedience. Painful moments of perseverance interspersed with multiple reassurances of reward. But it had been too long. Too much waiting. Too many hopes dashed. And now all I heard was more admonitions to wait patiently and ‘have faith’.

Over and over I rehearse the pain of repeated disappointment. Finally my rambling thoughts explode into a verbal tirade that seems to bounce off the windows and echo through the car.

I yell louder.

“Why aren’t you doing something? What is going on? And don’t you tell me to have faith. Answer me!”

The words hang heavily in the air. I wonder fleetingly if God is offended by my irreverent ranting or if a sanctified lightning bolt was about to put me out of my misery.

A familiar ‘beep beep’ from my mobile phone punctuates the silence. I glance at it incredulously. Who would be texting me so late? I press the Enter key and read the bold lettering shouting back at me; “ONLY BELIEVE, ONLY BELIEVE, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, ONLY BELIEVE!”

It takes a second or two to register. God sent me a text message?

“Didn’t I say not to go on about faith again?” I yell and fling the phone across the back seat.

____

Later that week I found out that a friend had been prompted by God at the precise moment I’d called to send me the message I needed to hear.

It was surprising. No, not what he said. That was consistent. Rock-like in his purpose, God wasn’t about to change his mind.

And it was not how he said it really. God can use anything. Burning bushes, animated donkeys, angelic visitations or text messages – they are all tools in his hand. Everything in creation can speak (Psalm 19:1-2).

No, I was mostly surprised because he answered at all. This was not in an angelic moment singing; ‘Holy is the Lord’ in the euphoria of a pumping church meeting. My prayer was offered in the dark gloom of a faithless mood. God spoke in response to the ugly screeching of an impatient daughter whose faith was tearing and stretching like fingernails drawn across a chalkboard.

Perhaps we forget that many of the saints who have gone before us have demonstrated the same openness with God. Think of the rawness of Job’s cries, the spiteful prayers of David and the moaning melodrama of the prophet Jeremiah. Honesty is not a sign of irreverence as much as it is a sign of trust. Vulnerability lies at the heart of intimacy and it is key to hearing God’s voice.

I have only ever received one text message from God. He does not always answer me immediately or in such spectacular ways. But one thing is sure: He is a god who speaks to our deepest needs. Like a passionate lover fervently pursuing an intimate relationship, he longs to open up his heart and whisper secrets to us.

But in order to hear his voice, we need to come to him with vulnerability and honesty, unafraid to share our shameful thoughts and crude emotions. We need to open our hearts to him in faith. And whether it is via a text message or more conventional methods, he promises to answer all those who call on him.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Ever had an unexpected answer from God? We would love to hear it here!

  • David Whitehead

    Thank you Tania,
    My name is David and things have not gone right.
    Have been crying out to God like you,plus some not very nice words.
    Rod and Barbara Fleming sent me this and it is just what I needed to hear and read.
    Still waiting on God to open up the door for me,and waiting for what I believe he has called me to do.
    Thank you for encouraging me by what you went through,and may God use me to help and encourage others for what I have gone through.
    May God continue to bless you in everything he has called you to do.
    Kind regards,
    David

    • Tania

      You are not alone David. Praying that the Holy Spirit will bring truth and comfort to your situation, and that you will continue to draw near to God even through gritted teeth and honest words. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • nachi

    Thank you so much, I was feeling some type of way and desperately needed Gods voice and he did, he said you are my child and I love you and I believe he spoke to me again through this testimony

    • Tania

      That’s great Nachi! Thanks for sharing

  • Tania

    Such a great testimony Tara, and a tough one too. I relate to the difficulty of a choice to forgive and move forward. Love the way God’s words bring life even if they are difficult to digest at times. Thanks so much for sharing! x

  • Ed van Setten

    Hi Tania,

    This was really a blessing to me!

    Hope to see you again sometime in Rotterdam.

    Bless you!

    • Tania

      Thanks Ed! Ditto – and am still enjoying the stroopwafels!!!

  • Tara

    I once had been treated very badly by a friend. They had been involved in some behaviours that I can’t describe here, but it was enough for me to ditch this person. I was devastated and felt sick to the stomach to lose such a good friend. Then God spoke, through the written word that were Paul’s words to Timothy about a church member that had been kicked out of church. They have suffered enough, accept them back and tell them you love them. I found this extremely hard and couldn’t actually use those words, but I did try. Over the next 2 years it was amazing to see what grace had done in their life and they extracted themselves from all bad behaviours and we became best friends. I never expected God to ask me to show grace to a person like that, but then…perhaps I should read the stories of Jesus more often.