Hearing is one of the five senses. On the Back 9, I can tell that my “hearing” is not as sharp as it once was. Not sure of the science, but I have now come to realize with age comes hearing loss for many people. Both my parents have lost the ability to hear unless they use hearing aids. I can remember our dears friends, Mike and Julie Crowder, whose son Chase is Thomas’ age. Chase was born with a hearing loss but went through the process to get a “cochlear implant”. It was a “miracle” our family got to witness and experience as we watched this little child hear new sounds.
Julie and I became very close and had a similar heart as we raised our boys in the same church and community. Both of our boys faced unique challenges in life. Seeing Chase recently while visiting Thomas at Clemson (they are both seniors in college now) reminded me of how significant it was for Chase to receive the medical aid necessary to hear so that he could THRIVE in life.
H-earing is VITAL AND ESSENTIAL to thrive in the Strength Zone of life. If you do not develop the ability to “hear” God’s direction and voice in your life, then you will fail in reaching and operating in ALL THE STRENGTH OF LIFE. Thankfully, you do not have to “hear” God audibly in order to “hear” HIM. Often times God communicates to people in different ways, ways that are cultivated as you grow in Christ. For me, it has been a process to understand and realize how God speaks to me specifically. When you invite Jesus into your heart, He sends the Holy Spirit to live/dwell in you. In 1 Kings 19:12 it is described as a “still small voice.”
The following are the things I know for sure:
In scripture God/Jesus refers to Himself as the Shepherd and to you/me/us as the sheep. He says in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” And in John 10:27, ” My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.”
- In order to hear God, we must get still! Turn off all distractions and focus on God. For me that has meant getting by myself and devoting specific time to meet with God.
- I read His Word. The Bible is the most significant way that God speaks to me. His written Word is designed to guide us for life. To teach us God’s character and train us to live and thrive in this world.
- It is also used to convict me/us of sin.
- It brings comfort and hope and all kinds of training.
2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”
The more quiet time I spend with God the more I recognize His promptings and nudgings in my spirit throughout any given day. If I start my day off focusing on God and His Word, it is pretty amazing what I have enabled Him to do with the rest of my day by putting Him at the forefront………it is only through the personal experience of this discipline that I have often felt as if I were “walking on water” during my day. My days are not necessarily void of problems and heartache but the ability to handle all situations, positive and negative, has been “off the chain!” You can ONLY experience this personally if you do it. Doing it consistently will give you the familiar experience you are looking for to RECOGNIZE BOTH GOD IN YOUR LIFE AND THAT STILL SMALL VOICE.
Understand this: God speaks. He speaks and nudges. When we don’t hear, it is usually because we are not “listening” or haven’t developed the relationship enough to recognize the Shepherd’s voice when He speaks. Recognizing God’s voice to the Christian should be as familiar as when our children call for us. We know which one it is without even seeing them. I specifically know the voice of Brewer, Thomas and Collins. I rarely, if ever, confuse them on the phone or when they call for me at home. God wants us to be that familiar with His voice!!!
Let me end with one example from the Bible that I love to read. It is found in I Samuel 9 and 10 and it expresses well how hearing and acting upon what you have heard leads to God working and changing you…..living in the zone. In short, the prophet Samuel has been told that Saul will be king of the Israelites. God orchestrates events to bring Saul to Samuel. Samuel tells him the news. Verses 6 and 7 of chapter 10 tell us, “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” And we see in verse 10 that, “…God changed Saul’s heart…”Learning to H-ear God when He speaks, leads us straight into the “Strength Zone” of life. We must not only H-ear but be doers as well. Hearing and obedience in that order take you directly into the “Strength Zone” designed for your life.