I love getting answers.
To be able to ask a question of someone and for them to answer clearly.
I like it even more when I can ask God something and get a clear answer from Him. He doesn't have to answer us. He is in no way obligated. And if He does answer, He can just say, "Because I said so." like a lot of parents do. (That's such a non-answer though.)
But how does He answer?
There are many examples in the Old Testament and the New. He spoke with an audible voice to Moses, Samuel, Elijah and others. Sometimes He has spoken to His people in their hearts or minds. He has used dreams, visions and angels. Other people have been used as His mouthpiece and even through controlling circumstances He has made His will known.
I personally have always been the type of person that loves to be told specifically what to do. Give me directions in how to do something, I'll follow them to a 'T'. But tell me to 'go do something', and I'm lost. Now I've gotten better about that, but I still much more prefer being given directions. I guess that's why I've loved reading the Epistles so much. There are actually sections of those that are like checklists. : )
Anyways, all that to say, I've always wanted God to speak to me clearly and audibly, so that I would know exactly what He wanted from me. I realize though that this can and probably does come from laziness. I just want to be able to lay back and wait for directions and if I don't get them, 'it's not my fault'.
That's why when I was listening to a Pastor at church making the point that most of God's will has already been written down for us, I was blown away. It was like I had an epiphany. That's a thought I have treasured ever since then.
If I want to know what God's will is, I just have to look in His Word. Understanding how it applies to my specific situation is a challenge sometimes. That's when other means of God speaking to me comes in.
Over my life, I guess the most often used communication has been through circumstances. Other times, I have sensed what God was trying to tell me in my heart. It's hard not to, but I find that when you get those nudges, it's best not to question them too much. I mean, make sure they don't go against scripture, but don't second-guess. There have been many times that I did, and ended up regretting it.
There was one time when God spoke to me in my heart and it was almost audible. I was eleven I think and I was dealing with the normal upheaval that comes around that age. I was anxious and unsure sometimes and just needed assurance. I was looking at the stars and God said, "All this could go away, and it will, but I'll always be here." I think that was a turning point in my ability to trust God.
I think a big part of hearing from God is spending time in His Word to learn what His voice sounds like. I don't do this near enough!
I think it's so beautiful when a brand new baby hears it's mothers voice and turns toward the sound that it has learned to recognize over nine months in the womb. That's kind of what it's like for us. Right now, the sound is muffled, but we can learn to recognize His voice and one day, we'll be in His presence and hear Him directly. Oh happy day!
Another part of hearing from God I think is keeping distractions to a minimum. I don't have a very busy life, but I do turn to entertainment more than I should. Even reading 'good' books can be a distraction...ouch!
So, I'm still working on my afternoon 'God time' and now I see that I need to focus on learning God's voice and taking time to hear it.
Lord Jesus, please help me to listen for Your voice. Amen.