In October and November of 2015 we renovated my office at home. I designed my workspace so that there would be a big open area above where my keyboard and monitor sit. I intended to fill it with crosses, small pictures and other decorations
This is what it looked like:
My intention was to fill that space with various pictures, inspirational quotes, crosses, etc. Every now and then I would think about putting something there but never sensed a strong leading from God to do so.
Until this weekend it remained bare and then Daniel Birdsong, a friend who is a true artist in every sense of the word, contacted me.
He wanted to give me a painting he had done.
When I picked it up I KNEW immediately that it was to go in that spot above my desk at home.
Here is what my work area at home looks like now:
I believe that when I knew it was to go to its new home this was the Lord speaking to me. I never heard any words. I just knew it belonged there.
Furthermore, I believe that the entire time I had no urgency to fill that blank space above my computer it was ALSO the Lord speaking to me – speaking to me through His silence.
For many years now I have tried to be more and more consistent at asking the Lord to give me input on my decisions. I ask Him what to write, what to say or not say in counseling, when and where I should travel, the routes I take, what to buy and what not to buy…and on and on.
So, whenever I noticed the empty place above my computer I would ask the Lord what I should put there. Every time I heard the same thing.
I heard nothing at all.
I, of course, use scriptural principles to judge whether or not I am hearing God clearly but in my everyday life I am also asking and expecting to receive real here and now input from Him.
Sometimes I strongly sense He is directing me. At other times it is like I am not hearing anything, yet I am sure there is communication happening anyway.
As we know from our human relationships, silence IS communication.
Why do I do that? I expect that because the Word says that I am His sheep and that I can hear Him:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)
He knows us. He expects us to follow Him. He speaks to us in this relationship we have with Him so that we can follow Him.
Many Christians have told me that they can’t hear God and I understand that belief because I used to have it. Yet, I will always assume that we can all hear God (even lost people) because of what the Bible says about how we formerly lost people came to be Christians in the first place.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (John 6:44a)
In other words, everyone who comes to Jesus is personally drawn to Him by the Father
“It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45)
And, every person who comes to Jesus has heard and learned from the Father
Now, I don’t know about you but I had absolutely no sensation while I was coming to Jesus to be born again that I was hearing the Father speak to me personally and learning from Him. However, that is what Jesus says truly happened to us.
Is that not amazing?
ALL Christians have heard God! Based on the very words of Jesus in John 6 we know this to be true.
So, as I write this piece I am looking up at the new picture on my wall and I am asking the Lord why HE always and forever intended for me to get this picture for my wall.
One answer I have received so far is that He wanted me to see that our Father in heaven speaks to Christians all the time and that we are not to doubt our ability to hear Him. The Word of God is filled with true stories of Him speaking to people in all sorts of wonderful and, sometimes weird, ways (talking donkeys, ax heads floating on water, wet or dry fleece, etc.)
Our God loves us.
He loves communicating with His children.
He is a master communicator.
I can see now that whenever He spoke to me about decorating this wall He did so with silence. He wanted me to do nothing with it until this past Sunday when I mounted this painting there.
He wanted me to wait.
He wanted me to wait so I wouldn’t have to take down decorations and pull all those nails out of this wall. I’m glad I obeyed Him by not filling the silence with my own words.
I want to close this article with an encouragement to not take what I have written as guidance to practice passivity. In other words, I am suggesting that if we don’t hear anything from God that we should NOT always take that as direction to do nothing.
Sometimes in His silence God is telling us to wait.
Sometimes, though, God is telling us in His silence that we are free to do what we want in the situation (so long as what we do is not sin.)
Sometimes, I think, the Lord wants to enjoy watching us exercise our free will in ways that honor Him and experience the freedom in that.
ALWAYS, I believe what He really enjoys most is our participation (through talking to, asking, listening to and obeying Him) in the parent/child relationship all Christians have with Him.
After all, it was God’s idea to call us His children.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
And it was HIS idea to call Himself our Father. Jesus speaking:
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:8-9)
May we all seek to depend upon Him more and more consistently in our daily lives.
May we hear Him in any way He wishes to communicate with us….even in the silence.