Something happened to me the other day that has happened to me a number of times. It’s not unusual, but when it happens it is a joy to experience and a delight to share. This particular instance happened one day while I was in my office. I was working away either studying, or returning some emails, or coordinating something, or connecting with someone, or maybe even writing one of these weekly emails, but right there in my office it happened! Something turned my attention off what I was doing. It was not my phone ringing or an alarm going off or someone coming into my office, but this ‘thing’ did not just causally move my concentration, it actually jolted my thoughts off my work. It was kind of like a small inner earthquake with its epicenter right in the seat of my emotions. Not anything scary, but like that rush of the most pleasant thought you could ever have rippling out of somewhere deep in your thoughts and captivating your mind, and so much so, it kind of felt like your heart leaping within you.
Now this leaping of my heart did not come from what I was giving my attention to (though I do get emotional and interactive with the Lord as I study and wrestle with deep spiritual thoughts). No this gripping of my attention came from somewhere else, somewhere outside my office. See, my office door was open and I could hear people talking down the hall and that ‘thing’ was a familiar voice. I got up from my desk to listen more intently. There it was again, and a smile came to my face as my brain began to connect this welling of emotion to pleasant remembrances. I moved to the door of my office, for that was no ordinary voice. It was a voice that though I have prayed many years for, I did not come to know it but a few years ago. It is a beautiful voice that truly made my heart leap. It was that beautiful voice of my new daughter-in-law.
Kasey was coming by the church office during a break from her work to surprise my son. And as I heard her talking with some of the other staff, the distinct sound of her voice drew my attention. Josh was nowhere to be found, so we had a pleasant chat until she had to go back to work. As she left, I was thinking of how much I love her and Josh, and how happy I am for them and the joy of their young love and what an incredible woman of God she is. As I pondered how interesting it was that even before I fully recognized it was her, her distinct voice moved me. Love does that. The same thing has and does happen with each of my other children and now their spouses, and most certainly with my ‘smokin’ hot wife Kristi! Love does that!
As I mulled over this phenomenon, I thought of our reaction when God speaks. Now I have never heard God audibly, but I do know He speaks through His Word (the Bible) and He puts thoughts into our minds (thoughts we need to check against Scripture, 2 Corinthians 10:5, because if you are like me my mind can go all over the place and who knows where some of those thoughts come from). I wondered if we are as captivated when God speaks as we are with the voice of our loved ones. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and maybe much of the time we are just too distracted to hear God’s distinct voice.
Jesus was obviously interested in us paying attention. Jesus said:
Matthew 11:15 He who has ears, let him hear.
This phrase is used also in Matthew 13:9, Mark 4:23 & 24-25, Mark 7:16, and Luke 14:35, plus a number of other places Jesus challenges us to tune into God’s distinct voice.
Psalm 46:10 says to stop striving. that to hear God does mean we need to slow down a bit. When God spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12, it was NOT through the mighty wind or earthquake or fire, but in the gentle whisper. That’s where Elijah could listen to God’s distinct voice. Maybe we need to take some time to quiet ourselves and incline our ear. We might actually hear God!
I also know that when we are self-focused, either dwelling on how great we think we are or how horrible we are, we tend only to want to hear ourselves or about ourselves, and that’s all we tend to hear.
Proverbs 18:1 An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.
The art of listening is focusing in on what another is saying and seeking understanding more than being heard ourselves. That’s where another’s voice becomes distinct.
Love is also a huge factor. Love leans us into the conversation where we not only hang on every word, but enjoy the moment. So here’s a challenge…listen for God’s distinct voice. He does have something profound to say.
Seeking His Distinct Voice with you,