Over the past year, I have been seeking out what it means to “hear from God.” My interest really took off after I was at the Worship Intensive with Aaron Keyes and interacted with Jamie and others at Grace Fellowship in Snellville. It was one of those times when I got to be around trustworthy people that told unbelievable stories as if they were just commonplace. Since then, I have read books, listened to lots of Podcasts, had phone/skype conversations, watched a really cool movie called Furious Love, and I have spent a good amount of time listening to my Father in heaven. This whole learning process has been really helpful for me and I can see that it has rubbed off on others too. There are some things that I KNOW God has spoken to me and other things that I THINK God has told me. I am careful to weigh everything through the filter of scripture and I love to get other peoples input to help me discern some things [that’s community right?]. The beauty of it all is that I have learned to act in obedience more and I have begun to fear less what others may think of me.
The fear of looking irresponsible to those around me has been the biggest hindrance in my pursuit of hearing from God and acting on what I hear. I am learning to let go of that.
A couple weeks ago, I was watching Conan [that’s right] and a picture popped into my head. The thought of me walking out my back door, through the empty field behind our house, and to the street on the other side was nagging me. I didn’t want to go. It was warm and cozy in our house, my wife and son had fallen asleep, and I was in the middle of Conan!! I could easily have told myself that it was just in my head but, since I had been trying to act on God’s prompting more, I got curious, wrote a note to my wife, and went for a stroll at 10:40pm. This is how it went:
I began walking around and praying for God’s direction. This led me to a neighborhood steets which, eventually, led me to cross paths with a boy walking parallel to me across the street. I had been praying that heaven would be present in the streets as I walked them […Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven…] and the word “heaven” was on repeat in my mind. Eventually, he turned down another street and I kept walking. I told God that if I came across him again [which I thought was unlikely] I would tell him “heaven.” Oddly enough, as I doubled back to go home, I came across the boy. Imagine walking in the night and a 6’7″ red haired man walks towards you and says, “HEY! are you all right??” It would be weird but the kid responded quickly with, “yeah, are you?”
I continued to speak to him telling him that God told me to get up, take a walk, and tell him the word “heaven.” I asked him if it meant anything to him. He replied “Yes” and told me about how he had just ran away from home. He mentioned that he had gotten into an argument with his parents and left but he had felt that something told him to go home after two hours. We had a brief conversation and eventually parted ways. It was a powerful encounter.
Think of all the adventures I missed and the opportunities I lost because I wasn’t listening, I wanted to keep watching the movie in front of me, or I allowed the fear of man to stop me. I pray that the Lord of all creation speaks to you. I pray for courage to listen to Jesus and do what He says.
Resources I enjoyed: Walking With God written by John Eldridge, The Practice of the Presence of God written by Brother Lawrence, 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice by Mark Virkler [summery online], A Simple Guide to Hearing God by Felicity Dale, The Furious Love Movie, and various teachings at Grace Fellowship.