Saturday, November 3, 2012


by Tim Howard 

Lily Tomlin once said: "Why is it that when we talk to God we are said to be praying. And when God talks to us we are said to be schizophrenic?" People who struggle with schizophrenia may experience auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions among other things. Unfortunately, people who admit they hear from God are often put into a similar category. If you admit to others you hear from God, be prepared for strange looks.

The answer of course is that people do all kinds of stupid things and blame it on God. God told me this… Two days later God changed his mind and told me something different… Many who have claimed to hear God are locked away because they are self-delusional. Everyone who claims to hear God accurately doesn’t! 

Communication is difficult on a human level so it stands to reason communicating with God will require a learning curve. Just because we don’t always hear God’s voice accurately, that shouldn’t stop us from communicating with Him anymore than it would if we were communicating with anyone else.

Husbands and wives have trouble communicating! I don’t always get it when my wife speaks. I’m sure she wonders if I will ever ‘get it.’ I sometimes misunderstand, misinterpret or just simply miss her point. That doesn’t mean we stop speaking and sharing on various levels. We continue to learn each other’s love language so we can communicate on an intimate level. 

In the Bible, 1 Samuel chapter 3 records a narrative of a young man named Samuel who didn’t know how to distinguish God’s voice. The account is not only interesting but it helps us gain some insight in regards to hearing God. Here are a few things we can glean: 

1. God is speaking but we don’t always recognize his voice. Samuel finally figured it out with the help of an old Priest named Eli. It’s always wise to check with other people who have walked with God for some time when you think God is speaking. They can help you discern his voice.

2. You will hear more clearly if you stop speaking and listen more intently. The Priest told Samuel: “If the Lord speaks again say, speak my Lord for your servant is listening.” Too often we view prayer as only talking to God. A monologue rather than a dialogue. Too often we say: “Listen my Lord for your servant speaks. You can’t hear God if you don’t stop yapping…

3. Samuel was at rest when God spoke. We live in a noisy world where it’s sometimes hard to hear God above the commotion. Do you know what most of us do with silence? Fill it! We fill it with noise. God can speak through the noise, or even over it, but usually, He waits for us to be quiet. Take a time out and press the pause button in your life. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10.

4. Samuel was in the Temple when God spoke. I personally believe God can speak to you while you are mowing your lawn, fixing the car, shopping for a new dress or taking a shower but meeting with others in a Church setting is important. It is so significant that the author of Hebrews in the New Testament said: Don’t neglect getting together with those who believe in Christ.

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