My Sheep Hear my Voice
You are God’s beloved and His desire is for you. If you’re like me, perhaps you are feeling skeptical. You don’t believe it in your heart. Does a God that deeply loves us really exist? Who is this God? Why did God create me? What does God desire for me? I wrestled painfully with these questions for several years.
God desires for us to believe in Him.
My first encounter with God was during adoration at a conference and it was very sensational. I felt so warm, fuzzy and emotional as I finally experienced the reality of God. And so I was riding a spiritual high for months: God exists, God exists! Over and over I was tasting and seeing that God is real, and He is good! But then things started shifting and the spiritual high I once reveled in dissipated.
Why can’t I feel His presence anymore? Why did He leave me? The only way I knew God was through feeling His presence, through those warm and fuzzy encounters. Confusion and feelings of abandonment settled in. For a long time I related to God as a distant Creator-force: He brought me into existence, showed me He is real and then stepped back and watched from afar. I never believed God wanted to have a personal relationship with me. I knew He loved me and worked all things together for my good. But I also knew this couldn’t be all He is.
God desires for us to know Him.
Our God is not a distant Creator-force: He is personal Love. We were created to be in a personal relationship with Him. And I saw that this must be true through the witnesses of my friends who have a personal relationship with Him. God greatly desires to make Himself known to us and has done so from the beginning of history and will continue to till the end of the age.
Lovers reveal themselves to each other. First God revealed that He is our Father, who created us out of His love and goodness. When we freely chose to reject His love through sin, we severed this personal bond. But He further revealed His Infinite love for us through sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. Through Jesus’ death on the Cross, our severed relationship was restored. But even further, Jesus sent us His presence, the Holy Spirit, to be with us. Thus God disclosed Himself as a communion of three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And He desperately wants us to enter into this loving communion!
God desires for us to receive Him.
One day during Mass this reality transformed from knowledge in my mind into a deep conviction in my heart. God wants us to enter into communion with Him through receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, where He is physically present: body, blood, soul and divinity. We were created to share in this! How much more personal could a relationship be?
In receiving the Eucharist, we become one with God. He gives us unimaginable graces. He pours out His perfect love in us and heals us, makes us more whole. We are restored. But it doesn’t stop here: although we can’t physically have God within us all the time (only until the Eucharist is dissolved into our bodies), we can have God within us spiritually at all times. And in this spiritual communion, He wants to speak with us.
God desires to speak to us.
I was so happy to find out that I had a personal relationship with God through receiving Him in the Eucharist. Yet still something seemed missing. I saw that many people could hear God speak to them, know His will for them, but I couldn’t seem to. It’s not like I wasn’t trying. I talked and talked and talked. No audible voice came, no burning bush, no angelic vision… I was frustrated!
Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, God is speaking to us. We just need to learn how to listen and recognize His voice! “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If we want to “hear” God directly, the best way to do this is to read and pray with the Bible: “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). This will help us identify His voice when He speaks to us in unique and creative ways through certain people, circumstances and silence. It also helps to have a Spiritual Director to guide you in recognizing God’s voice. “Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli” (1 Samuel 3:1-10).
So dedicate some time to prayer, consistently show up and stick through it! Choose a Scripture passage, read, reflect and talk to God about it! (This is a practice called Lectio Divina) Don’t be afraid to start small – even 5 minutes every day at the beginning will make a difference. God will show up too and speak, I promise. If it worked for me, it will work for you too!
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)