Please read Hebrews 3:7-4:13

Have you ever wondered why we don’t hear from God like the ways He spoke to others in biblical days? Why there are no more “burning bush” moments, “voice from Heaven” calls, the “visions and dreams” between God and man, or how God would “walk in the coolness of the morning” with us?

Being a pastor for now starting my 20th year, this question has been asked of me hundreds of times. It is a good question which deserves a good response. I know a man so desperate to hear God speak to him in and audible voice that since God is silent with him, he will remain silent with God until God decides to contact him in an audible way. I know that this might be an extreme, yet at the same point I can see his strong desire to have communion with God. Is he wrong?

As a response to this question, I invite you to read the passage provided. I am not using this as a weapon to shame anyone. However, there is a valid point to the passage. It has to do with the heart. One aspect is that man hardens his heart and thus silences the voice of God. This is a very valid statement because there are many reasons why we would harden our hearts; experiencing the loss of a loved one, loss of income, being too focused on worldly things, being more focused on rituals/traditions more that relationships, the experience of trauma in our/loved one’s life, anger, false teachings, guilt, sin, the thought of being “unworthy” of love/grace/etc. All these will deafen us to hearing the voice of God. This also hardens our hearts because we falsely believe that God had hardened our hearts because of His response to our situation. However, we chose to allow the situation to harden us. It might be by the coaching of others we trust in to turn away, the ridged teachings of “works over grace” which makes us to believe that our relationship with God is based on the good I do more so than His grace and intimacy desire towards us.

My answer towards this question is to be answered with questions:

Are we listening?

How are we listening?

Are we doing all the talking?

Is our expectation in alignment with His will?

Do we have a pre-planned statement/outcome which we are fixated on and that is the only response we will accept?

Is our timing aligned with God’s timing to speak to us?

If God spoke to you, would you believe it was Him? (I call this the Doubting Thomas test).

Once we hear Him, what will happen next? Will we follow Him faithfully or would we attempt to manipulate God to do our own will versus His will?

What is the purpose for desiring to hear from God audibly?

What are all the different ways God engages with us and speak to us?

These are very good questions to consider because these might help us to see our arrogance in placing such demands on God. Scriptures always share examples of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit creating intimacy with man and speaking to man in a variety of manners. This being said, why are we not seeing these same manners happening to us today?

The truth is, they are happening each and every day to all who would listen. Man looks to hear from God in man’s ways and in man’s timing. Anything short of their expectations is a violation of man’s terms and he then imposes sentence on God and exiles Him from their lives. And when this happens, God will not violate man’s decision and will remain exiled from that individual, as evidenced by the passage provided. Does this mean that God would not allow man to re-engage with Him should man want to repent from such isolation? God gives man every opportunity to have intimacy with Him, even up to the person’s final breath to have that intimacy! But again, this will not be forced on man. They must desire it.

Our God loves us with an unfailing love. This love is Agape love and it will remain with us throughout all eternity, even if we are separated by Hell because we decided to be separated by our desires and decisions. This love is for all who desire it regardless of who we are and what we have done. It is ours for the asking.

To prove that God not only speaks to us but also answers us, remember when we asked Jesus into our hearts? Remember when we were in our darkest moments and we asked God for help and that help came in whatever manner it did? That is God speaking to you and answering you. His response is our voice which we hear from Him. It’s that simple.

Are you longing to hear from God? Give yourself the opportunity to hear from God. He is talking to you, even through this article.

John Boyanowski serves as pastor at Pleasant Lake United Methodist Church

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