I love to meet people who work with my husband. I’m so proud of him. Everyone says nice things, from the top executive to the guy who mops the floor. I’m never surprised to hear them say he is helpful, honest, kind, attentive and hard-working. Sometimes the ladies start gushing and say that they “love him” and he must be a “great husband.” And I’m all, “WHOA! Back off, hot pants.”
I’ve come to expect the gushing when I meet Jon’s co-workers. They are telling the truth when they talk about his honesty and kindness and attentiveness. He’s exactly like that everywhere. I would not even believe someone who said he was harsh or difficult or hot-tempered.
See, I’ve known Jon for 30 years now. I’ve spent a lot of time with him, talking to him, listening to him, watching him. I’ve seen him interact with his parents, his siblings and his friends. I’ve observed him with all of our children at all different times of the day and night. I’ve heard what people who know him well say about him. We’ve worked through issues, problems and frustrations together. I’ve taken the time to discover what he loves and what he hates, what makes him smile and what makes him sad.
I know Jon.
I know the sound of his voice. I recognize it immedately. I’m even learning to interpret his silence.
It wasn’t always that way. I remember vividly our first few phone conversations when we were seventeen-years-old. I was sitting on my bedroom floor, knees pulled to my chest, leaning against my bed, ear pressed to a corded phone that barely reached into my room. Teenage chit-chat filled with awkward pauses, surface questions, nervous giggles (mostly mine). Early on, the talking part felt very one-sided. He was so quiet!
(But he was cute and smart and played football. Plus, he totally liked me. I could work with the quiet.)
I didn’t really know Jon when we were seventeen. I knew some things about him, but I didn’t know him. Knowing him took time–years! Many conversations. Many questions. I’m still learning, even today.
It’s like that with God.
I know a lot of people who struggle to hear God’s voice. In the decades I’ve dedicated to studying this topic, I’ve learned there is a direct correlation between hearing God and KNOWING God. Many Christians struggle to hear God because they allow days and weeks to go by without talking to him. Some believers don’t talk to Him at all. They don’t read His word. They don’t spend time with His friends and family. They don’t know Him.
If this is you, if you are a believer who struggles to hear His voice, may I make a few suggestions?
Ask God with a sincere heart to help you to recognize His voice more clearly. Ask Him often. A hundred times a day, if you have to. The conversations may start out feeling awkward and one-sided. That’s okay. Just start talking and asking. He is there on the other end, listening.
Find out what God loves and what He hates. Ask His friends what He is like. Observe Him interacting with His children. Wrestle with Him through a few frustrations. Ask Him questions and listen for His answers.
Take the time.
Get into His Word and learn about Him. Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed. From a distance, the Bible may seem complicated or confusing or boring. No worries, if you think that. God already knows what you think and He still loves you. I promise, if you get into it, you will find it to be exciting and relevant and life-giving (and probably still complicated, confusing and a little boring, at times).
Not sure where to start with the whole Bible thing? Try starting here:
- Join a Bible study. Pick a topic that interests you with people you enjoy. There’s probably one at your church. If there’s not, join one in your neighborhood or at another church.
- If you don’t have a church, you should find one of those, too. That’s where a lot of His friends hang out.
- Stop at a local book store and browse the Bible study section. Pick up a study on a topic that’s relevant to you. There are hundreds of them. It can be anything. Just get in there and find out what God thinks about the stuff that you think about.
- If you don’t have a good study Bible, buy one. You can buy Bibles at Wal-mart while you pick up milk and toilet paper. You can one-click it on Amazon. It’s so easy! (I have a Life Application Study Bible, NIV. I like it a lot.)
- Open it up and start reading. If you don’t know where to begin, start in the book of Matthew and read all commentary along the way. This will help you understand what you are reading and make it relevant to you.
If you are having a hard time hearing Him, concentrate on getting to KNOW Him. The hearing part will follow.
Updated and reprinted from the archives.
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