In 1970 Judy Blume wrote a young adult novel titled “Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret.” The novel managed to capture the collective frustration, struggle, and quest to find God wherever and whatever he might be. Believers can also have similar concerns but Margaret’s journey is a little different from our own. Like Margaret we question at times whether God is really there but, believers have an idea of who He is, where He resides and what He might be dependent upon the maturity of our faith. Life can bring a variety of difficult circumstances and during these trying periods, feelings of loneliness and isolation can creep up making God seem particularly distant. It would be easy to ask God in frustration if He is in fact there but it is important to realize in spite of circumstances that He never left. In fact not only is He always present, He is close enough and willing to speak to us to encourage and bring strength to our hearts.
Genesis chapter twenty-eight gives an account of Jacob and his search for his future wife. After receiving his blessing from his father Isaac, along with specific instructions, Jacob began his journey to Paddan Aram which was at least two days away. While on his way he stopped for the night in a place called Luz to rest. While he was asleep Jacob dreamt of a stairway leading to heaven with angels ascending and descending with God standing at the top. In the dream God spoke to him about his unique future. Genesis 28:13-15
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of.
During the midst of his sleep God reached out to Jacob to speak to him specifically. It is pretty awesome that God the creator of the universe took time out to reveal a part of the plan that He had for Jacob’s life. Jacob was not perfect, in fact he was known as a “supplanter” or trickster because he was born holding on to the heel of his twin brother. Eventually Jacob would become Israel, the ethnic and spiritual forefather of many people. But, before this particular event Jacob’s mind was probably preoccupied with thoughts of his new wife, his ongoing sibling rivalry with Esau and whatever else was occurring in his life. I imagine that God was not exactly at the forefront. As a result of being distracted the only time when he was quiet was probably limited to when he was asleep. In the absence of all other distractions, God was able to finally grab the attention of Jacob and let him know what was on His mind.
Today God still speaks to his children. However, it might be difficult to hear him. Many questions come to mind about what God speaking to us might actually entail. Is his voice audible? Why do some hear from Him and not me? It is important to first realize that all our precious in the sight of God. He doesn’t prefer one person over the other; after all He sacrificed His Son in order to give us life. In fact man and womankind were created with the purpose of having a close and personal relationship with him. Communion with God is fact the standard set for believers to follow but that is a goal that many have yet to reach. The issue lies not in whether God speaks to us it is in fact whether we are prepared to listen. In order to fully cultivate the communicative aspect of our relationship with God there are a few steps that we could take.
- Make a daily quiet time. Choose a time in the day whether it be early in the morning or in the night find a time where you could have devotion free of distraction and interruption. Use this time to pray, meditate, sing or simply sit quietly. Once you find a period that works make it a habit and do it regularly.
- Repeat step 1.
There is no magical key to hearing God’s voice, but with patience and perseverance in deepening our relationship with Him when we ask if He is there we can hear him when He responds.