His Still, Small Voice
A question from a listener about her own growth in a relationship with God and her frustration at what seems like his silence cause Brad and Wayne to contemplate many of the questions people have about growing in their communion with God. Is having a relationship with God easy or will it take years to develop? Does he really speak in a still, small voice for many people? If so, why? Does God withhold his voice from us, or are we just not tuned to his frequency? Is recognizing his voice something we can achieve or are we better off letting him take the lead here? Through the discussion they talk about how an ongoing conversation with God unfolds in the simple realities of life.
Are there written transcripts of your podcasts available online? I have a number of friends who have encouraged me to listen to your podcasts, but I must admit to being something of an ‘old-schooler’. I love to read and gain much from it, but trying to devote time and attention to listening to a podcast is a little hard for me.
Another helpful podcast. I have always cringed at the old cliche,”If you don’t feel close to God guess who moved?” It annoys because of the implication that God would never move because “He’s the same yesterday, today and forever”, so if you don’t feel close to God it is your own fault. Shame on you!
Religion always gets in the way of relationship. Religion says we must perform well in order to stay in His good graces. He says, “Because of my good graces you can come to me just as you are and I will heal you and make you whole.”
If you don’t feel close to God it doesn’t mean anybody moved. Don’t mistake silence for distance. Thanks for the reminders and insights. You guys rock!
Sorry, Rob, we have neither the time, resource, or inclination to make transcripts of the podcast. There is a lot of reading, however, at http://www.lifestream.org that is in much the same wheelhouse as the content of the podcasts. I can’t imagine us ever transcribing them because conversations are cumbersome when turned into the printed page. Or so I think!
I was with you until the accusatory tone (fault and shame bit) kicked in.
How does that encourage anyone to draw near?
Sorry, Ken J. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Where did you feel accused?
Thanks for talking about this topic because I think the experience of not “hearing” from God with any of the human senses is pervasive and yet the whole orientation of much of what is being said in Christian circles is that this is normative behaviour. With conversations I have had with other folks they often refer to verses like Proverbs 18:24 in order to explain that this is to be expected.
I think that you will find that there are many people like me who never hear from God with any of our senses. What I mean by that is that we don’t have dreams, visions, unexplainable inclinations (i.e. I was driving down the street and God told me to stop the car and speak to …), no verses from the scriptures jump out and grab us with meaning, we have no supernatural gifts (i.e. healing, prophesy, etc), our talents appear to be naturally acquired through study and life experience, etc.
My own background is that I made a profession of faith at 9 and after struggling with this issue until recently (I’m now 52) I have decided that my experience with God is qualitatively different. At times, trying to reconcile this – I don’t know what you would call it, perhaps spiritual autism – with the many and varied experiences of others drove to the point of deep depression. I made a causal link between not being able to engage with God with my senses and rejection. I think this was based in the manner of my “conversion” experience at a young age (hell & an angry God) and living within a family environment with an abusive father all in the context of a fundamentalist church environment.
I could go on but this is getting too long already. So where has this left me today? My faith still varies dependent upon a bunch of factors but I can only experience God’s imminence by those small transactions between people. Being kind and compassionate, pulling back on the need to establish my own comfort but repressing the needs of others, etc. It is only in those times that I can see that God is love, compassion, patience, etc. But, it sure looks different to what everyone else is saying and is almost a humanistic approach.
I think there is an expectation with some that if you stick with it then eventually there is a break through. What I have found is that is not always the case, however I am left with one uncomfortable observation. The dynamics of relationships as expressed in much of current Christianity appears to be well in a word selfish. I get spooked out when attending worship services where there are hundreds of people with rapt looks on their faces trying desperately to engage with God one-on-one. Also, much of the emphasis is on having this amazing vertical relationship. I think God is okay don’t you? I don’t think he needs this constant affirmation about his character but many of those same people in the congregation need simple human love and engagement. I wonder is Christianity has taken a bit of wrong turn in that our emotional and physical need for relationship is meant to be mostly supplied by our interactions with each other and that our spiritual nature is nurtured in a somewhat mystical way by God. I think Jesus made a statement somewhere that he is to be the foundation from which we build from but we make the journey destination and all points along the way to perseverate on this amazingly intimate relationship. I just think that people sometimes get lost along the way.
Good podcast, guys! My husband and I are enjoying listening to you each week. Wayne, you mentioned podcasts you listen to. Will you share those with us? We’re always up for more podcasts and would love to try them out.
Wow what a privilege to hear God speak to us any where any time. You have enabled me to understand the ability I have to hear Gods voice even when I am working with noisy tools and a busy mind. To be able to ask Father “Why is this not working” and for Him to answer “Because you have disobeyed me in this area” and enable me to repent and then get the job done as it should be. Then to be able to worship Him as I travel home and to have him hug me and tell me how special I am to Him.
What a great Father we have.
As I listened to the beginning of this podcast I lay on my bed, cosed my eyes and crawled up onto Fathers lap. He put His arm around me and I sat there listening to you guys totally at peace and in safety, living loved. How I love Him…
Hey guys – good stuff. I think part of the frustration for a lot of people in hearing God is that we compare ourselves to those that spout off about what “God said” to them. What Brad was saying about this conversation that people say they have of I said…, then God said… seems pretty shallow to me really. I’ve learned to take a lot of that sort of talk with a grain of salt. Personally (and this is just me), I don’t talk a lot about what Papa has said to me. It’s pretty intimate stuff and to be spouting off about what “God said” would just ruin it for me and come across as being prideful (I think). I cherish those moments when I am especially attuned to him – especially the ones that seemingly come out of nowhere in the midst of daily routine. I only share that stuff with my closest of friends who know how to listen from the heart. I know there is importance in time with God, but if we make it about hearing him for our sakes, we’ve cheapened it. Could it be that the reason we get so hung up on “hearing God” is because we don’t feel validated as being a christian because so many talk about hearing God? I wonder if “hearing God” hasn’t become sort of a seal of approval among the religous ‘elite’. That was a rhetorical question. I’m a strong introvert so, I absolutely love to spend several hours on the weekend just being quiet. Reading scripture or journaling or listening to birds chirp or watching the sun rise. It’s all good – even the hard stuff is good because Papa is there in the midst of it ALL. I think about Bethel – “surely God is in this place and I did not know it” or “be still and know that I am God”. Not everyone relates to Papa this way, but that isn’t the point. The point is that he relates to each of us in whatever way he wants to draw us closer and to show us his love. That in itself blows me away. What an awesome Father we have!
This is a message that needs to be heard again and again. Thanks for sharing. It may be helpful for all who are born again that it is the Lord’s intention that we be one with Him. In other words, out thoughts and His merge together, yet retain a distinctive difference such as we find in strong marriages. Paul makes expresses this difference in his own experience in Corinthians when he says the “Lord says” and “I think the Lord says” and “I say, not the Lord”. In some points he knew clearly what the Lord said. In others his thoughts and the Lord’s thoughts are so closely entwined that he has difficulty separating them. And, of course, there are opinions that he clearly knew was his own, yet he believes that he is in agreement with God’s view.
I’m sorry for the misunderstanding (and the misuse of quotation marks on my part). The accusatory tone is not mine. The point is that the statement ,”If you don’t feel close to God guess who moved?” carries with it the message “if you don’t feel close to God it is your own fault; shame on you!” And because that’s the message I hear, I very much dislike the saying.
My main point is that nobody moved. We often mistake silence on His part for distance on His part, and that is a fasle perception on our part, because He promised to never leave us.
Hope that clears things up.
You have to hear the podcast to get this one . . . For those of you who want a new ringtone 🙂 Sorry, Brad, you asked for it! 🙂 Thanks, guys for helping us know that walking with God doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time. http://www.acetaweb.com/brad/Brad's_confession_repeated.wav
Wayne and Brad,
Absolutely fabulous guys, Margi and I listened to this on our out of town excursion today and were simply delighted with the over flowing abundance of his goodness to us.
I love how the Truth is so invasive and relentless in making himself known to us, confronting our very much askew ‘perception of reality’ with what really is real!
Brad’s conffession (see above) may not work the way the link shows up on your screen. Sorry ’bout that. Try this URL: http://acetaweb.com/brad/brads_confession_repeated.wav
Hi Wayne and Brad
Loved this pod cast, I was able to relate to it on so many levels, it was a few years into my walk with God that I realised He spoke to me in the first person, He never said “I am God, do this or that.” but I would think thoughts that I came to learn were and are not mine but His. I look back at the time I had the thought that I wanted to deal with drug addicts and alcoholics, well the truth was that I didn’t want to do that and I ignored the thought, it persisted, “I want to deal with drug addicts and alcoholics.” Now I didn’t ignore it but I faught against it, saying to myself, “Don’t be stupid I don’t want to do that.”
After two or three weeks of the thought persisting I suddenly said, God is this you?” I felt a resounding yes within myself and immediately I was excited at the prospect, that ministry went on for twenty-three years, taking up to nineteen guys at a time into our home to live with us with all their attending hurts and problems, our three daughters grew up in that invironment and we have all been inriched by it. What an exciting part of our lives. Learning to hear that still small voice through it all, resting in the fact that He will speak and will get through when He wants to.No striving on my part to get Father to tell me what He wants “me” to do. He provides all, the wisdom, the love, the finance, the courage, etc, etc.