One of the commonest ways to hear God’s voice is often overlooked and I can understand why. From our earliest consciousness we talk to ourselves; maybe “think” to ourselves is a better way to say it. There is a great stream of consciousness going on all the time and we naturally assume ourselves to be the creator of the stream.
But is that always so? Actually, isn’t God often introducing his thoughts, especially when a thought just seems to “pop into our head”? Wouldn’t it be beneficial if we could recognize his thoughts and his ideas as they come along?
A recent illustration in my own life got me thinking about how often I probably miss God’s voice. As I’ll share with you, in this case the origin of my “random” thought became crystal clear. First some background.
I weekly tutor a Middle Eastern couple in English as a second language though a local library program. It was joy to find out when we first met that they are very serious Christians. We often use the Bible as our study text. Their home country forbids sharing Christ so they are joyously overwhelmed with the freedom of religious expression allowed in the United States.
The wife also attends another language school and participates in a Bible study where she has been drawn to a woman hostile to God and Christianity. We have wondered why this lady signed up for the volunteer discussion but we figure God is at work.
Last week while leaving my house to meet the couple a thought popped into my head. I suddenly remembered a small Seeker New Testament I had recently come across while cleaning. Shouldn’t I give the little book to my student couple? Maybe they would like an English New Testament or maybe it could be passed to the woman in the Bible study?
I went back in the house and got it and then offered it as we sat down to begin our lesson. The husband seemed delighted and asked me right away to explain the word “seeker.” The wife however went totally silent and had a strange look on her face. Finally she said; “I must tell you this. I was in the Bible study this morning and as I left class I asked our Lord if he would please put a New Testament in my hands to give to my new friend.”
Wow! All three of us sat in awe. I found out my thought wasn’t casual at all. I felt amazed that God had used me to answer another person’s prayer and she was amazed and grateful that God had not only heard her but had answered her so swiftly. Of course now we are sure that God is at work in this other woman’s life.
How can all of us become more alert to recognize God’s voice in seemingly random thoughts? We can start first of all by simply reminding ourselves to watch for them. If we saw dollar bills float down from the sky one morning we’d probably automatically look UP every time we went outside. We need to look UP more regarding our thoughts because sure enough some of them will be God’s voice.
Also, I noticed in my case that when the thought popped into my head it wasn’t attached to anything else I was thinking about. It appeared totally spontaneous and unrelated to my activities. That was a good indication it didn’t come from me. Of course, any thought must be evaluated based on its roots so we don’t go obeying a bad thought popping up from an evil source.
Have you been noticing your “supposedly” spontaneous thoughts lately? God may be hoping you will. He may want to give you an earful!
“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:2-4)