One of my favorite passages from scripture continues to be 1 Kings 19:11-13 in which God has told Elijah that He was coming to visit. As Elijah waits, a great, strong wind comes by, but God is not in that. Then there is an earthquake, but God is not in that. And then a fire came, but God was not in the fire, either. Finally God came to Elijah in a “still small voice.” This is how God speaks to most of us. I have heard people say that they hear God’s voice as if someone was speaking to them out loud, but this has never been my experience. He always comes to me in a “still, small voice” that I cannot hear with my ears. It is too quiet for my ears. Somehow, as I am praying, His Words and His Spirit become intertwined with my words and spirit such that I realize the words I am praying are not just coming from my mind. The thoughts are too great and amazing most times that I know they couldn’t have come purely from my imagination.
Another way God’s voice comes to us is described is in Isaiah 30:21: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” What Isaiah is referring to is the sudden urge to do something whatever it is. You find yourself suddenly needing to walk or drive in a particular direction, or to stand still for a moment, or to look in this direction, or to look directly at something that your eye had not noticed before, etc. You find yourself doing something and then ask, “Why did I do that? Where did the thought come from to do what I’m doing?” It is as if someone behind you told you to do it, and you responded by doing that very thing. I’ve often heard people say things like, “I felt God was wanting me to do this or telling me to do this.” Or they might say, “I just felt an urge to do this thing or even an urge not to do something in particular.” Where did the urge come from? Often, if not always, when we do something inexplicable like that, it is God talking to us in His still, small voice, so small that we can’t audibly hear, or it is like someone just spoke behind us, etc.
There are a few other ways God speaks to us besides the still small voice or the voice behind you. He can speak to you through some chance occurrence or some repetition of a symbol, sign, or thing that you and He have worked out in prayer. There are many Bible verses about God using signs to communicate with His people (unusual, chance occurrences that happen just exactly the way you asked for it and at a precise time so that no other explanation can be feasible except divine intervention). God even made the sun go backwards (or the earth to rotate backwards temporarily) in 2 Kings 20. He can work out any sign with you that you desire, if your heart is pure (i.e. you desire to obey Him, but you need some confirmation to give you courage to move forward or even some sign that gives you "street cred" when you do His work).
Moreover, sometimes God speaks to us through other people as you just happen to have a chance meeting or conversation with someone out of the blue that addresses something you were praying about or meditating on just a few minutes prior. One of the keys to recognizing the Hand of God in things is the timing. He has perfect timing since He has the ability to control all things in the known universe. I’ve had prayers to him in which I went through an entire conversation with Him in my head only to repeat the conversation word for word when someone entered the room immediately after I was finished praying. You might be thinking, “Well that’s not so hard for you to repeat what you’ve just thought about.”
Maybe not. But it is astoundingly amazing when the person who entered the room starts the conversation and immediately turns the conversation to the topic you’ve just prayed about, and then that person says things that fit perfectly into the conversation that you just had with God and which you are now repeating almost word-for-word because they are the most appropriate words for the situation.
I’ve had things pop up, ready for me, just as soon as I got through praying for it such as a parking space when I was in a hurry and running late. This is the tricky part – many times, God anticipates what you will need or will be praying for and prepares the event beforehand so that it is ready before you even ask or just as soon as you finish asking.
I believe this phenomenon is what Isaiah 65:24 is referring to: “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” God, of course, is not bound by time. He can look into the future and knows what is going to happen, partly because He has complete control over future events and partly because He is so Infinitely Wise that He can, in an instant, calculate millions of variables and know the exact outcome of all the factors affecting your life and the lives of those around you and the lives of people you don’t even know that are nowhere near you. This is mind-boggling, but it is nothing for an All-Powerful God.
I pray that you will have your eyes opened to the work of God all around you and that you will be able to hear in your mind and heart His Still Small Voice.