Please don’t think I’m weird.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I don’t remember the first time that I read one of these books, but over the past 20 years or so, I’ve read them countless times. I am a re-reader of favorite books in my life, so I usually read the whole Little House series through two or three times a year.
Last week I read a 216 page dissertation by Nicole Mancino about Laura Ingalls Wilder in which she compared and contrasted the Laura of the Little House children’s series to the Laura found in her journals, letters and unfinished manuscripts found among her belongings after her death. In reading the dissertation, I found that there exists one recorded audio clip of Laura’s voice. You can’t imagine how excited I was when I got this information! I immediately started my search online for the CD which features a nine minute speech by Laura.
When I mentioned to my sister that I found this information, she was dumbfounded to hear that I would read a dissertation about Laura Ingalls Wilder for no reason. Although she was also excited about hearing Laura’s actual voice (being a Little House fan herself), she thought we should try and find a clip of it on the internet first before paying $12 for a nine minute clip.
I can’t explain to you why I love Laura’s story so much, or why I am so excited to hear Laura’s voice even though the clip was recorded when Laura was 89 and I’m only familiar with her early life. Laura hasn’t personally done anything for me. Her story is inspirational, but not particularly related to my own childhood and background. I really can’t tell you why I love Laura, but I CAN tell you that because of my interest in her stories and life, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about her.
Which brings me to my real thought for today: How excited am I to delve deeper into a relationship with the Lord? How excited am I to hear HIS voice? Am I willing to read hundreds of pages to learn some new things about Him?
Maybe you have the desire to hear God’s voice, but are not sure how to recognize it. If that’s the case, you’re not alone!
This question has been asked by countless people throughout the ages. Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Gideon had a physical revelation from God, and he still doubted what he had heard to the point of asking for a sign, not once, but three times (Judges 6:17-22, 36-40). When we are listening for God’s voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking? First of all, we have something that Gideon and Samuel did not. We have the complete Bible, the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
When we have a question about a certain topic or decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us or direct us contrary to what He has taught or promised in His Word (Titus 1:2).
Second, to hear God’s voice we must recognize it. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know Him as their Shepherd and they know His voice. If we are to recognize God’s voice, we must belong to Him.
Third, we hear His voice when we spend time in prayer, Bible study, and quiet meditation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives. Just like we are able to recognize the voices of the people we are closest to us, we should be so familiar with God’s Word that when God does speak to us or lead us, it is clear that it is God. While God can speak audibly to people, He speaks primarily through His Word, and sometimes through the Holy Spirit to our consciences, through circumstances, and through other people. By applying what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize His voice.
God created us to have a relationship with Him. It’s not that He’s not willing to converse with us, it’s just that we’re usually too busy to interact with HIM.
“To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God’s responses.” – Charles Stanley