Growing up in the church, I remember always hearing people say, “The Lord said this…”
or “God spoke to me about that…” I never really bought into the belief that people actually heard God tell them much of anything, and that what people were hearing was their own desires of things (or lies) they told or was trying to convince themselves of. Especially if what the Lord “told them to do” wasn’t very holy…such as sleeping with another woman’s husband, and then justifying it by saying something crazy like, “The Lord told me that He blessed me with that man, and he’s going to be my husband.” Listen…first of all, the devil is a lie. And second of all, God would NEVER tell you that another woman’s husband belongs to you. That’s your mess, not His. Nevertheless, those were some of the things that I’ve witnessed taking place in the body of Christ. It’s so sad. It hurts my feeling knowing that people go around using “the voice of God” as an excuse to continue in their foolery. And I just know Jesus Himself is grieved by it. And because of this, I had a really hard time believing that God actually SPOKE to people.
Now, as the years went by and I grew in my spiritual walk with Christ, I myself, started to believe that I had learned to recognize the voice of God, but ONLY during prayer. I allowed myself to believe that it was ONLY through prayer that God speaks to His children, and that if you weren’t on your knees at your special prayer alter, or in your designated prayer closet, then there was no other way that you could possibly hear a word from Him. I know, I know…ridiculous, right? But that’s what I foolishly believed. I admit that I was guilty of trying to put the almighty and powerful GOD in a little box, and by doing so, I was subconsciously creating my own ideas and thoughts contrary of WHO God really is, AND His ability to reach whomever He wanted to get a word to, whenever He desired to do so. I’m so ashamed of that, but, it’s what I did. Just being honest with you about this, Church.
But, then something extraordinary (or dare I say supernatural?) happened to me one day…
As I was at the end stages of publishing my first Christian non-fiction book, I remember having a brief moment of silence, and not by my own choice. It was so odd, but all of a sudden I found myself still. Quiet. No deep thoughts running through my mind, no organizing or planning my next move in my head, no prayers being silently recited…just, still. Suddenly, as clear as if somebody was in the room talking to me face-to-face, I heard a still small voice say, “You did good with being obedient and writing the book, now let’s begin the process of starting your own business.” WAIT. WHAT? DID YOU HEAR THAT?! To say I was a little freaked out, was an understatement.
It was a known fact that mental illness ran through my family bloodline, so my first reaction was to panic, and seek help. But it was at that moment when a warm, calming sensation fell over me, and I immediately felt a sense of peace. I felt the presence of God. He wanted me to know, that it was Him. So, I continued to listen. If I had to describe what and how God presented Himself to me that day, I would compare it to hearing your “conscience” or that little voice in your head that tells you what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’…that’s what it sounded like…but more clear. No guessing. No confusion. It was simply amazing. It was God.
Now, me being in the flesh, and even though God had confirmed and identified His presence when speaking to me, I still had some questions about what He just said…
“Umm, Father, that sounds great and all, but first of all, exactly what kind of business am I supposed to start, and where is the money coming from to start it?”
Don’t judge me, but I was so serious about getting an answer from Him about that. And that’s not even the fun part…I got my answer alright. And my answer was, that He never answered my question! He said, “Just go. The directions and provisions will be provided along the way.” He went on to tell me the type of business I would start, but that was it. It was then that I realized that God expecting for me to trust Him, be obedient, and “Just go.”
Anybody that knows me, knows that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a risk taker. I’ve always played by the rules. I’ve always stayed where the probability of failure was slim to none. I’ve always placed myself in situations that I thought I could control. I didn’t know anything about starting a business, nor did I have the resources, financial or otherwise, to even know where to begin. And now, here I stood serving a God that intentionally was pushing and testing the limits of my obedience and faith. No upfront details and information pertaining to my new business endeavor, OR the necessary tools, knowledge and skills that I needed to do it with. “Just go.”
I needed more confirmation. So I started having dreams. God began stirring me in my sleep. Visions, and thoughts of business ideas came to my mind as I slept, or went about doing daily activities. Even simple things like scrolling on my Facebook or Instagram, I started getting little messages on different ads that would pop up about different companies that help with registering trademarks, logos and other services that specialize in the preparation of legal business documents. And without my even trying, information, resources, business plans, structures, and just things in general, literally began to fall into place and into my hands to work with. God was providing my tools. But even still, I needed more reassurance that I was actually hearing the voice of God, and that it was His doing that these things were happening to me, and it wasn’t my own thoughts. So I turned to the bible for answers, and was given the following Scriptures from the New King James Version:
“For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”
I KINGS 19:12-13
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God speaks to us. Whether through visions and dreams, or as bold and outright in the form of a still small voice, like He did with Elijah the prophet, in the book of I Kings. God speaks. We just need to be still long enough to just listen. And to do so with the intentions of not only getting familiar with the voice of God, but also heeding to it. Trusting His voice. Knowing in your heart that He is present and is trying to tell you something. And as in the book of 1 Samuel 3:10, we must always position ourselves to be readily available to hear when God calls for us to provide instruction, whether in our businesses, marriages, relationships or life choices.
This is my testimony. Starting my new business was NOT my idea, but it was one that God had been wanting to bless me with, and one that I am now extremely excited and passionate about. I had initially just been too afraid to hear what the Lord had been trying to tell me about it. One other thing I learned about God, is that sometimes when you can’t hear Him or just blatantly ignore Him, He will simply stop talking to you. And don’t get me wrong, He won’t stop talking to you because He’s upset with you. No, not at all. He will simply just go a different route to get your attention. Instead, He might just began pushing you in the direction in which He ordered for you to go. Jobs, people and things may start being removed out of your life. You know, distractions, is what I like to call them. And believe me, sometimes it’s quite uncomfortable when the hand of God begins to move in your life. And once He starts rearranging, moving and REmoving things, it’s really unfair, and way out of line, for us to start demanding answers from Him after we’ve been ignoring His warnings and spiritual preparation for those seasons He had already ordered, and was getting ready to take us through. But nevertheless, we as Christians, must trust Him because it’s all for our good.
So the next time you find yourself alone or in a brief moment of silence, recognize that a stage has been set for you to receive a word from God. Speak, Lord! For Your servant is listening!