God Told Me So
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21
Recently, I was speaking at a church event, when I used this phrase, God said to me . . . It’s quite a statement – to claim that the creator of the universe speaks to me. Someone in the audience raised her hand asking, What do you mean God speaks to you? It was a valid question and I’m glad she asked ask it. I explained that I didn’t hear an audible voice. I’d been praying for an answer to a specific question, and I felt that God spoke to me through prayer, scripture and other Christians. The answer I got wasn’t one I wanted, but it aligned with what I knew the Bible said. I believed the answer was from God and I changed my behavior because of it. In retrospect, I can look back and see how it transformed my life. I have no doubt that God spoke to me in that moment.
Still, when I hear others make the same claim – God told me – I’m almost always dubious. Maybe I’m cynical, but I’m also being realistic and honest. Often, when I’ve heard someone claim divine guidance, it’s obvious that God had nothing to do with it. I once heard a man insist that God told him to love another woman, but his wife just didn’t understand. God told me so. That wasn’t God though. It was simply something he desperately desired and needed to justify, so he blamed God. After all, how could his wife argue with God’s will?
We’re often tempted to do this. We want something so badly, or we believe ourselves to be so right about something, that we believe God feels the same way. In any church debate – perhaps about the carpet or the style of music – it’s a conversation stopper for someone to claim that God is on his side of the issue. It is of course, impossible to prove it one way or the other, and to argue with a claim of God’s will is to either object to God or to call the other person a fool or a liar.
In today’s passage, Peter provided some insight into whether something actually came from God. In it, he said that God’s word isn’t born out of our will. Any claimed word from God that looks a lot like the will of the individual who’s making that claim, is suspect. God told me to marry you. That’s not God. It’s simply the delusion of a man who wants something so badly that he’s convinced himself that God wants it too.