Tuesday, January 20, 2015
How does God’s voice come?
Peter Marshall – renowned as a godly man who was quietly influential in the highest places, including two terms as Chaplain to the US Senate.
Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me.”
How does God’s voice come to us? A lot depends on how close a walk we have with Him. That’s something we have to work at, or pay attention to at any rate. Like any walk, there are paths which diverge and the way can become confusing. There is someone whose avowed intent is to get us onto a path that looks enough like the right path for us to stay doggedly going our way, while we are also doggedly getting more distant from God. But will we notice the difference?
On the other hand, if we take care to stay on that right path and stay close to the Lord, wherever He seems to be going, how He may speak to us is hardly an issue. In pointing out a clump of nettles or holding back a thorn bush, words are seldom used. How He speaks and when He speaks and what He speaks of need not be headings in the disciples’ manual – we’ll just know. It just comes out of the fellowship.
Peter Marshall, twice chaplain to the US Senate in the years immediately after the Second World War, was an American Presbyterian minister with Scottish roots who became something of a legend in his short life (he died suddenly aged 42). His walk was evidently a close one. Back in Britain one one occasion, he was in Northumberland and talking a shortcut across a moor. The night became black and as he plodded on slowly, he heard an urgent voice call out: “Peter…”. He stopped and answered: “Who is it? What do you want?” There was no response from the wind on the moor, so he tried to continue. The voice came again, even more urgently: “Peter!” He stopped and trying to peer into the darkness, stumbled and felt around and found he was on the edge of a drop into an abandoned limestone quarry.
Your next experience of hearing God speak to you will (almost certainly) be a lot less urgent than this! A lot of His words to us are too still and too small – and even too ordinary – to seem like God. So if our expectation is not high, and we are waiting to hear an audible voice save us from death on the moor, we may just miss it. But Fathers say lots of quite ordinary things to encourage us, too.
• What is your expectation of hearing God speak to you today – 80% likely? Or 20%? Less?
• If He were to ask you how close your walk is with Him, how would you answer Him?