Recognising When God Speaks

Dear Friends,

Towards the end of last year I had a strong sense God was telling me that I needed to get Jess tested for dyslexia.  God didn't speak to me in an audible voice, yet he spoke so clearly to my heart that it was just as if he had spoken the words aloud to me.  "The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, [Jesus the Good Shepherd] and the sheep [that's you and me] recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  John 10:3-4 (NLT)

I shared with Jason what I believed God was saying and he agreed it was important for us to look into it.  I am so glad I had Jason's support and that we were in this together.  So we went through the appropriate channels at her school.

I have to admit part of me wasn't too sure about acting on what God was telling me to do.  What if I'd made a mistake?  What if nothing was wrong?  What if her teachers thought I was making an issue where there was none.  What if I was wasting everyone's time? I was afraid that people would think I was foolish for bringing it up.

But, at the same time, I knew that if it really was God prompting me, then I needed to do something about it.  Especially as it concerned my daughter and her needs.  I didn't want Jess to miss out on receiving help just because I refused to do anything with what God was asking me to do.

So I listened to God and acted.  "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." James 1:22 (NLT) The school agreed to look into it for us, but the waiting list was just too long for our liking so they put us in touch with someone who would do the test for us privately.

During the Christmas holiday, Jason drove us to the home of the woman who would carry out the test for us.  Even as we were driving there I kept thinking that I must be wrong and that it would turn out there was nothing wrong.  That I was making a fuss about nothing.

By the end of a morning of putting Jess through various tests, we were told that Jess was indeed dyslexic and that she was a very bright girl to have kept it so well hidden all these years and to also have managed to produce such a good standard of work 

I was so pleased that I had paid attention to God rather than ignoring his voice.  Having the diagnosis has been a blessing for Jess.  Whereas before she thought she was stupid and suffered with low self-esteem, she has now begun to understand that she is not stupid.  It has given her more confidence and others have noticed the change in her too.  She is getting more help at school and when she takes her GCSEs next school year she will be given extra time in exams to put her on an even level with other students.

When I told Jason how grateful I was to God for stepping in and telling me what to do, he questioned why God hadn't told me it sooner, before Jess had gone through much of her schooling.  I don't know the answer to that.  Maybe God had told me before and I hadn't put myself in a place to hear him speak.  Maybe I'd not taken the time to listen.  Maybe I hadn't recognised his voice when he had spoken.  But maybe God hadn't spoken about it before.  Maybe he spoke now because now was the time to do something about it.  I have discovered that God's timing is always different to mine.  I often wish he would act sooner.  But I've also learned that he knows the right time when something needs to happen.  He always has a good reason for any decision he makes.  I will never fully understand God's timing because I will never fully understand God this side of heaven. Paul says in Romans 11:33 "Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!" (NLT)  Even without fully understand God I know I can still trust him and his timing.

I admit, I don't always find it easy to recognise when God is speaking to me.  But I know that when I make myself available, when I put myself in a place where he can speak to me, then I know that I am more likely to hear and recognise his voice.

But it's not just about recognising his voice, it's also about what we do when we have heard from him.  It can be easy to dismiss what he has said as just in our imagination.  We can also be afraid of what people will think and what they will say if we do respond to what he is saying.  We may not want to embrace the change that will come if we obey him.  We may be afraid of the consequences. 

Or we can choose to be obedient to his word.  We can decide not to let anything or anyone hold us back from doing what he asks of us.  Yes, it can be scary, uncomfortable, challenging etc.  But we will be better off when we have obeyed God.  I've known it in my life and as the example I gave at the beginning of this post shows, Jess was also better off because I listened and acted on what God said.

When you and I recognise God's voice and when we then act in obedience to what we hear, not only will we be blessed because of it, but those around us will also be blessed.  Jesus said in Luke 11:28 "blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice." (NLT)

To Think About:
How well do you recognise God's voice?  What can you do so that you are more able to recognise him when he speaks?

Has there been a time when you heard God speak to you?  What was your response?  What was the outcome when you acted in obedience?

Has there been a time in your life when you refused to listen to God?  What was the outcome?



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