If God Spoke Out Loud to Me
Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you. Genesis 13:17
With a pastor for a father, Bible stories were an ever-present staple in my upbringing. Many times, over the years, I’ve thought how easy people like Abraham had it. I mean, God actually spoke out loud to him. Of course Abraham obeyed, because God’s will was so obvious. Whenever I’ve struggled with any decision in life – where to go to college or what job to take – I’ve often wished God would speak out loud to me. If you’re really there God, and if you want me to follow you, then just speak to me. . . Nothing. I’m convinced that if God did communicate audibly, I’d listen.
Deep down though, I also have this fear that if God started talking, that he wouldn’t simply stick to helpful advice about college and career choices, but that he’d ask me to do a bunch of stuff that I don’t want to do. What if, instead of college, he’d have asked me to go work in an urban homeless shelter? What if he now asked me to use my medical training to go serve in some underdeveloped country? So, even though I’d like God to speak to me, I want him to stay within certain boundaries.
Though I desire to follow God in theory, I just don’t know that I can trust him to take my life where I want it to go. I’m very aware that God’s will often doesn’t align with mine and I’m afraid that if I follow him, I’ll not get what I want out of life. There’s a bunch of fun stuff out there that God says not to do. At my last relapse, it wasn’t an audible voice, but I could still hear God speaking – Do not do this. You will regret it. I knew what God’s will was, but I wanted my pills at that moment. So, I did it . . . and paid a dreadful price.
That’s the lesson of my addiction – that following God’s will is always in my best interest. God loves me and knows that I’ll find authentic joy and peace only in following him. Yes, following his will may mean sacrificing those self-destructive behaviors that I think I want right now. And yes, following God may mean doing some things that I initially find uncomfortable, like volunteering for a jail Bible study. But I can promise you this – My life has been infinitely more joyful and peaceful since I began to daily attempt to follow God’s will instead of my own.
Here’s the truth – God is always speaking. If I want what’s truly best for me, I must listen and follow.