Can we hear God speaking to us?

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After TV star Joy Behar’s attack on our vice president’s Christian faith, the question is raised: can we hear God speaking to us?

At the close of one of my favorite TV shows, there is a discussion by a police family sitting around the table at their Sunday dinner after church. Here is a family that is fighting the good fight against bad people who do bad things to good people. It is understandable why they would sometimes get discouraged, and even wonder if God hears their prayers.

The grandfather says to his youngest grandson that while God always hears our prayers we need to “listen very carefully (in order to) hear His response.” Many people falsely assume God does not hear and answer their prayers because they do not listen “very carefully” to hear His response.

Recently I heard Harris Malcolm, one of our state missionaries, quote the thought-provoking words of Peter Lord, who reportedly said: “The one who listens to God with the intention of obeying has the privilege of hearing God speak.” How many people never hear God because they have no intention of obeying what He says they ought to do? I am inclined to believe a “willing heart” enhances our ability to hear God!

Some people not only never listen to God, but they even make fun of those who do listen to God. Joy Behar, one of the stars on the TV show “The View” recently mocked and slandered Vice President Mike Pence because he “listens to Jesus.” She even went so far to say he must be mentally ill – just because he listens to Jesus!

It is sad to think that she could think such thoughts, much less proclaim them publicly. Of course, Vice President Pence is in good company when he is slandered like this. After all, we read in Mark 3:21 how it was said of Jesus: “He’s out of His mind.”

If listening to God is a mental illness, then most people who have ever lived are mentally ill! God has called His prophets to speak to His people throughout history. In Isaiah 40:1 God inspires his prophet to “Comfort, comfort My people.” His spokesman, the prophet Isaiah, goes on to assure the Israelites of “the good news” amidst the worst of news, and asks them: “Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not considered the foundations of the earth?”  

The prophet makes promises on behalf of God that have been fulfilled in the lives of the faithful throughout the centuries: “God gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” I still picture that scene in the movie “Chariots of Fire” where Eric Liddel read this text from Isaiah. God spoke through him not only to his audience in that church in France but to every audience watching that academy award winning film.

We read in Psalm 95 this invitation: “Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. Today, if you hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah.” God, our Shepherd, speaks to His flock. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd (John 10) tells how His sheep know and hear His voice. It is both understandable and heartbreaking that there are those who do not know Him do not hear His voice.

Vice President Mike Pence is a Christian who has done what countless Christians have done throughout the ages, opened their hearts, souls, minds, and bodies to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Untold millions of Christians have heard God speaking to them in His still, small voice that has awakened their conscience and inspired them to be better than they want to be. Who can possibly think that William Wilberforce was mentally ill when, inspired by the Spirit of Christ, he went on to devote his life to waging a successful war to outlaw slavery throughout the British Empire?

Let us pray that Joy Behar may listen to good and godly followers of Jesus who testify by their words and actions, spirit and love about God who may be heard by all who are willing to listen with a humble heart, seeking soul, and open mind. Yes, we can hear God speak to us through His prophets and above all His Son Jesus Christ, Whose Spirit wants to inspire and empower our lives!

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