Does God speak today?
God can speak to you in the
most surprising ways - through
the Bible, through prayer,
through other people... and even
without your realising!
|The Bible book of Judges tells the story of an unlikely hero: young Gideon wasn’t the confident type—you might even say he had a siege mentality, which was not entirely surprising, given that he lived in an occupied country where his crops were destroyed, his livestock slaughtered and his life made a misery. The persecution got so bad that he had to hide in a wine press and thresh his wheat in secret. Not really superhero material!
Then things got even worse. In visions, angels told him to do exceedingly risky things like opposing the religious corruption that was rife in society—it was even an accepted part of his own family life. As you’d imagine, Gideon didn’t leap at the idea. But since his obedience appeared to be key to getting rid of the occupying army, he cautiously asked God for a sign that he was hearing things correctly, by seeing what happened to a sheep’s fleece left out overnight. To this day, Christians still refer to that fleece as a byword for asking God if he really means what we think he’s saying.
I had one of those ‘am I hearing things?’ situations once. We believed that God had told us to take two small children into our family. As a working mum with three children of my own, I thought the idea of adding a pre-schooler and a five-year-old seemed really complicated. I’d been contracted to produce two books; I needed to be a three-child mother, not a five-child one. Something had to give. “Give me a sign about whether I can continue working,” I prayed. “Something that I can’t possibly argue or organise away.”
The letter came a few weeks later: “Will you travel across the country and spend the day speaking at our ladies’ retreat?” asked a complete stranger. No chance! I knew I couldn’t add anything else to my chaotic life, and said so.
But it didn’t end there. A second letter came: “You must be so busy,” said my correspondent, Ann. “My husband and I feel that God wants us to give you enough money to employ a secretary once a week for a year. Cheque enclosed.” In the days before computers, this allowed me (a very indifferent typist) to get my manuscripts typed professionally, and saved me hours of work. The books got written, and all five children cared for.
Years later I met Ann, and told her how her generosity had been the answer to my Gideon’s fleece. She smiled wryly. “My husband had just lost his job, and giving money away seemed to be a crazy thing to do,” she said. “But we’ve learned over the years that, when God speaks, you’d better take notice.”
Lots of people think that if God exists at all he’s just set things in motion and left us to get on with our lives. Many more know that God is all about relationship, and wants to speak to us today
Pray: Pray Lord, I’m no superhero, and I don’t think I could even be a leader like Gideon. But I’m willing to explore your plan for my life, and I’m willing to hear from you. Help me to know when it’s your voice I’m hearing, not the clattering of the world around me. I’m new at this: let me hear clearly. Thanks. Amen.
Read about Gideon’s fleece in Judges (OT)
Watch a video clip about how God doesn’t speak to us!
Download Lead Me Lord by the Discovery Singers at iTunes
Read the book How Does God Guide Us? by Nicky Gumbel
Read the book Gideon – Power from Weakness by Jeff Lucas
Read the book When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer: Insights to Keep You Praying with Greater Faith & Deeper Hope by Jerry Sittser
Read the book Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey
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