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How Death Helped Me Hear God Speak

How Death Helped Me Hear God Speak

It’s one of the biggest challenges of the Christian life – hearing God speak.

I mean, scripture shows us that, if we belong to Him, we should be able to discern when he is speaking to us, and know what he is saying. Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and many other biblical figures heard His voice and knew what He wanted them to do. John 10:27 says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  And John 10:4: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” If you belong to God, you’ll be able to hear His voice. Seems pretty obvious.

Or not.

Let’s just be honest. When you have to translate that concept of hearing God’s voice into everyday life…let’s just say many of us begin to wonder if we’re actually spiritually deaf. Many Christians have never heard God speak specifically to them.

The questions are endless. Does he speak audibly? Is it just a feeling we get? If I can’t get it off my mind, does that mean it’s God talking? If I’m reading a verse and it seems to jump off the page at me, is it God’s voice? Is this really what God is saying to me, or is it just what I want to be true?

I struggle with it every day – hearing the Lord’s voice, and being able to discern it amidst the noise of life and the din of my own desires. The longer I’ve walked with Him, the more I’ve improved at hearing His voice, but it most definitely remains a work in progress.

How God Speaks to Me

I’ve found that hearing the Lord’s voice comes through 4 means:

 

  1. Scripture
  2. Prayer
  3. Other Christians
  4. Circumstances

For me, the Lord’s voice usually comes in that order, too, with scripture and prayer being the primary ways he speaks to me. I have to be particularly careful about discerning God’s voice through circumstances, and usually can only do this when I also get a word from Him through scripture or prayer as well (preferably both), due to the fact that I have an uncanny knack of interpreting circumstances according to the outcomes I want to occur. Although I can hear from the Lord from any one of these means, when all four agree, I know I’ve heard from the Lord.

I’ve also found that my ability to hear Him accurately is based on the following factors:

 

  1. My yearning or great desire to hear Him.
  2. My ability to get away from the busyness of life and focus on Him through time alone with Him.
  3. Regular, daily (or multi-daily) immersion in scripture.
  4. The confession of sin in my life.
  5. Removing my own will or desire for a certain outcome.

But, get this – that’s where the good of Dominic’s death comes in.

Yes, I said good.

Death as a Means For Hearing God’s Voice

Losing my son has increased my ability to hear the Lord 100 fold.

Yes, that’s right. Dominic’s death has been the catalyst for a whole new world for me of being able to discern God’s voice in clear, personal, specific ways. I heard Him speak, before Dominic, but not anywhere close to the degree or clarity I hear Him now. I don’t know that I would have come to this place of seeking His voice and being able to hear His voice so clearly any other way. Sure do wish I’d been able to get here through some other means, but here I am.  And I have a new, profound yearning for God’s voice and presence in a way I’ve never had before. I think it’s because of that yearning that I am able to hear Him more clearly now than I ever before could.

Dominic’s death has tremendously increased factor #1, my yearning to hear God, because without hearing from the Lord on a minute-to-minute basis, I felt like I was going to be sucked into an abyss of darkness. Hearing Him was the air that kept me from drowning. And my yearning has led to me (#2) making the time for Him, to be with Him. Since Dominic’s death, it has not been a challenge to find time to be alone with the Lord, reading His word. That was the case for a lot of my life – much of my quiet time, pre-Dominic, was out of discipline rather than love. But now? Now I long to be with Him, to feel His presence, to hear His voice, in the right now. If I don’t, I start moving into focusing on the past, with all of its sorrow, or the future, with all of its uncertainty. When I sit in His presence and focus on Him in the present, I feel peace and perspective. So all of that has helped me hear Him more.

This daily time of being in God’s presence has also increased (#3) how much time I spend in scripture, as I daily search for His truth to get me through. And I have found it. Daily, sometimes multiple times per day, the Lord is revealing Himself to me through scripture in clear, personal ways. One example? I’ve felt the Lord reveal to me that we will be able to have more children, although I do not know when. One night recently when praying about it and questioning whether or not I’d actually heard this word from Him, the scripture reading in my devotional book for the evening was Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord will fulfill his promises to her”.  Right after that, the next verses in my devotional were from 1 Timothy 6:15-16 (in reference to Christ’s coming again) “…which God will bring about in his own time”. Later, my devotional passage was Psalm 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”.  With those kinds of intimately relevant words, how could I not be excited to come into God’s presence and hear His voice? It’s like every day I just can’t wait to find out what He has for me today, or I crave His words just so I can make it through.

Although I struggle more with the last two factors, #4 and #5, Dominic’s death has helped me in those areas, too. Before Dominic’s death, I found that pride got tremendously in the way of me being aware of my own sin and being able to confess it. I often wanted to be “right” more than I wanted to be godly. Although I haven’t conquered that area of my life by any means, Dominic’s death has put into perspective for me that being right just really isn’t that important in the larger scheme of things. That sin, my sin, others’ sin, humanity’s sin, gets so in the way of life and makes everything so miserable that it’s just not worth it; even if it means me losing my pride. Life is too short to spend mucking it up with my own self.

The final factor, #5 is probably the hardest of all for me. I always have a stock in what I want God to do. Most of my prayers were trying to convince God to bring about whatever outcome I desired in any specific situation. But I’ve learned that when I want something to happen very badly, I have a very difficult time accurately discerning God’s voice about that thing. My own desires cloud my ability to hear Him speak, and I often inaccurately attribute what I think is God’s word to that which is not His word at all, but my own will on the subject. And, trust me, the results are never good.

However, Dominic’s death has helped me to see the ways in which God’s ways are best, even when they are not what we desire. I’m definitely still working on this one, and have a long way to go, but I’m beginning to see it. One of the ways I can see it is how I can hear the Lord now in ways I never could before – and because of that, I have more direction, peace, hope, and joy.

I hate death. And I hate not having my baby. But his death has brought something to me that is worth more than I could have possibly imagined. I now can hear God’s voice, daily, moment-by-moment, in ways I never have before. And I don’t think it would have happened without Dominic’s death. I certainly don’t pretend to understand why we’re on this road, or what God is doing with it all, but I can say that I now can hear God’s voice in a new way. I’m just beginning to understand, personally, what Romans 8:28 means: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It’s true – he has brought good from this. Because, even though I feel more pain now, I now am also experiencing more “life to the full” than I did before Dominic.

I guess sometimes God knows that it takes death for us to experience real life.

 

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