God Spoke To Me This Very Morning

Published on March 29, 2010 by CT in Blog, Stories

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Do you believe God can speak to you today—actually speak directly to you? I have a lot of questions for God, and I’ve been waiting to hear from Him for a while now, so I have had my doubts.  There’s even some deeper theology in this question in whether or not the canon of Scripture, which is closed, sufficiently speaks for God today.

You may have had a similar experience of wanting to hear from God, or wanting to know God’s will for your life in a certain situations, all the while experiencing the loneliness and doubt of His great silence.

I think I would have said that God has spoken to me before; in fact, I’ve written about the time I felt as if God called my cell phone at 4:30am and another time when I felt as if He woke me up in the middle of the night because He had a job for me to do.  But I also had some doubts about those experiences, wondering if I was reading too much into what might have been simple coincidences.

God spoke to John Piper on March 19, 2007.  Piper wrote about this experience two days later, and I just read through it a few weeks ago.  His testimony has been ringing in my head since I first read it—the reason being that I have been waiting to hear from God for years, and I figured if He’s speaking to Piper and others, then why not me?

Then came this morning.  God spoke to me—clearly, unequivocally, personally—and I want to share the story with you.

Here’s a little context first.  My wife and I recently moved to Northern Virginia to be near family and discover our mission in this region.  We have also been making plans to build our first home on a large conservancy lot in the area, a lot that happens to be next door to where my brother and parents will be building their homes.  This may all sound great, and it is, but I’ve been wrestling with these plans for a year and a half now.

I have been budgeting and saving for a house since I was 12 years old.  My wife and I have also committed to try to give generously to God and live debt-free in the process, even for a house.  But we’re now finally in a position to be able to buy a home.  We’ve seen God lead us to move clear across the country when we didn’t expect to do so.  We’ve also been gifted the land for the home, which is one of the reasons our plan is even possible.  My occupation has uniquely allowed us to be in a position to make these plans a reality.  So there are all sorts of good reasons for us to look at this situation and say that God’s hand has been guiding it.

But to be honest, I’ve been struggling with it.  I tend to equate spirituality with poverty or generosity, such that giving is always necessarily better than saving or spending.  I acknowledge God owns all we have, and that He can direct us to use His money as He sees fit, and that He can bless good stewards both spiritually and materially, and that He means for us to use what He’s given us to meet the needs of our families and the needs of others, but I just couldn’t believe God would want us to drop the amount of cash needed to build a home in this area of the country.

I’ve even wondered if God was giving me the opportunity to build this house, or to not build this house, and the former was good while the latter was better.  I imagined coming before God in eternity and discovering that I could have summoned my own courage to go against the conventional wisdom, to ignore the circumstances in our life, to go against the counsel of my wife and my parents, and to make a decision to be sacrificial in spite of it all.  And this was my greatest fear—that I would let the chance to do something great for God slip by.

I recently had another conversation with my parents about all of this, and I found myself struggling with these thoughts more deeply.  So last night, just before I fell asleep, I begged Jesus:  Please tell me what you want us to do with this house.

All this brings us back to this morning, when my phone rang at 3:30am.  I woke up disoriented, finally reaching for the phone but answering it too late.  My first thought was to wonder if God was trying to get my attention.  So I sat up for a moment, looked down at my phone, and wondered who it was that had called.

That’s when I heard God’s voice.  Not audibly.  But clearly.  “If my people humble themselves and pray…”

That’s all God said to me.  It was clear and crisp, as if the breaking sunlight at dawn could speak.  It sounded out of still darkness, and I felt as if these words were familiar.  I suspected it was a passage from Scripture, but I didn’t know where to find it or what the context was.  I thought about these words for a moment—perhaps God meant for me to pray.  I know I have been avoiding any meaningful sort of prayer for over a year now, so I thought God was encouraging me to pray more.  I considered getting up to go pray in the other room, but then the skeptic within me awoke.

I glanced back at my phone, wondering who might have been calling, and redialed the number.  It was Delta Airlines.  So I checked my flight status and found out my morning flight was going to be delayed.  There it was—a completely rational explanation.  I thought I was overanalyzing this whole God-speaking-to-me thing, and I realized I could lay back down and perhaps pray quietly to myself while I went back to sleep.

But the moment my head hit the pillow and my eyelids shut, the phone rang again.  I accepted the hint this time to get my lazy body out of bed.  So I got up quietly, grabbed my Bible, sat on the couch, and tried to find out whether or not the thought that came to mind was actually from Scripture.

That’s when I came across 2 Chronicles 7.

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there…“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight… (vss. 12a, 14, 16, 19, 20a)

These words were alive.  “I have heard your prayer.”  “I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there.”  They leapt off the page and went deep within my spirit to awaken a sense of wonder.  I wasn’t aware of time passing; only joy.  The God of the Bible, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of David and Solomon, the God of Peter, and John, and Paul, this same God was answering my prayer, and He was speaking His word to do it.  I’ve always heard the word is alive, but I can now testify that this is true.  Gloriously true!

But there was a sense of fear in the midst of the joy.  “If you turn aside and forsake my commandments, I will pluck you from the land I have given you.”  God was telling me in no uncertain terms:  I have chosen this house, but do not turn aside from me.  Never, Lord; may it never be so!  But far greater men have failed to keep these sorts of vows to God, so who am I to consider myself worthy to remain faithful?

I know God speaks to us today.  I feel silly even making a big deal out of this, because buying a house is a small matter in His great story, but this was an issue deep within my spirit that He needed to address.  I also understand the need for contextual interpretation, and you may want to point out that 2 Chronicles is talking about the temple of the living God, not a house in Northern Virginia, and that the temple of the living God today is actually the believer, not a house in Northern Virginia.  Some may even want to say that even Satan has used Scripture to speak to God’s people.  But context is primarily concerned with interpretation, not illumination, and Satan used Scripture in opposition to God’s word, not to encourage faithfulness.

I suspect God communicates extra-Biblically as well, but I now know the primacy He has placed on his written word.  The Bible is not simply a book anymore—like all the others on my shelf—something that is worth reading at times.  It is God’s book, and He means to speak to us, truly speak to us, through it.

I figure if God and I are now talking, then I’m going to get all my questions answered.  But I suspect this will not be the case, and that a time will soon come where I feel God is silent and distant once more.  But I hope to look at this passage that will go on my wall and remember that God still does speak today—personally, vividly—through His word, and that I can go there to meet with Him whenever I want.

When we have questions for God, may we find ourselves on our knees, patiently asking Him for answers, buried deep within His word, where His Spirit will reveal to us the deep things of God—deep things that will speak of His character and nature and great love for us, but also deep things that sometimes answer the small, silly questions that grip us so tightly.

Question:  Do you believe God still speaks today?

  • Michael Drake

    Thank you for sharing Chris! A few years ago I was able to go through a discipleship class that taught me how to really meditate on the Word though pondering, picturing and praying. It has made made his Word come alive to me and I can honestly say that He has spoken to me continuously ever since.

  • Barbara

    The word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. I absolutely believe He still speaks to us through it, but I also believe that we do have to be very careful about the way we handle scripture, being careful not to take scripture out of its intended context even though on the surface it seems to apply – that is how many fatal errors are born and grow. Have you ever read Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something? I gave a copy of it to my son and he's been chewing through it. The Holy Spirit has come through very powerfully to me on several occasions, which I note here and here. (Cont)

  • Barbara

    (cont) But I have also been led to turn to this side or that by something camouflaged as an "angel of light" who by the way is no gentleman and does not mind invading prayer and twisting Scripture in the process, but our Good Shepherd is faithful to bring us back. I would just recommend a hermeneutical caution with 2 Timothy 2:15. Be a good Berean. The more we know Him and His character through His word illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and the more we are conformed to the image of Christ, the more we will understand His will and our liberty within it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

      Hi Barbara, thanks for all the thoughts. Do you feel as if I've misapplied the Scripture cited in the story? Or are your warnings more general in nature?

      Haven't read Just Do Something, but I perhaps will someday. I have heard good things about it.

      Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

      • Barbara

        Chris,

        It's more general in nature, although that particular passage of Scripture is one of the more popularly wrangled-out of context passages that we have, and we do have to be careful; Satan even brought Scripture before Jesus to tempt Him, out of context and twisted in its meaning, and Jesus rebuked him for it. If he did that to the son of God, he'll do it to us too. There are a couple of things I'd like to link you to but can't from work – later this evening I'll pull them up for you.

        One of the most blessed things is to be able to rest in God's sovereignty such that, as Susannah Spurgeon – wife of Charles Spurgeon noted, whatever situation I am in today, is God's will for me for today because ALL things work together for the good of those of us who love Him (because He first loved us) and are called according to His purpose, and that good is that we are conformed to His image, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:28-30). To know that all things work together to that end, and the promise that while He does not hear the prayers of those who are not in Christ, (Prov. 28:9, Isa. 59:1-3, Jn 9:31) if we are in Christ Jesus, His blood makes the way so that we can approach the throne of Grace and thereby know that our prayers are heard, that Christ Himself is at the right hand of God interceding for us and that the Holy Spirit of God is interceding for us as well because we do not know how to pray as we ought (Rom 8:26), and that those prayers then become as the incense on the altar, a pleasing aroma to the LORD…. great comforts to rest in so that whatever decisions are made regarding location and some of the other issues of daily life, if we are striving for hearts that please Him and obey His word, we can quietly rest in His wisdom and care.

      • Barbara

        Chris,

        It's a general caution, though that particular passage of Scripture is one of the more popularly wrangled out of context passages that we have today. It's worth remembering that Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with the words of Scripture out of context, and Jesus rebuked him for it. If he was so bold as to go after the Son of God with sacred Scripture, he surely has great fun coming after us with it, which is why we're cautioned to be diligent to rightly divide the word of truth.

        Speaking personally and from Scripture, one of the most blessed things is to be able to rest in God's sovereignty such that, as Susannah Spurgeon – wife of Charles Spurgeon noted, whatever situation I am in today, is God's will for me for today because ALL things work together for the good of those of us who love Him (because He first loved us) and are called according to His purpose, and that good is that we are conformed to His image, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:28-30). (cont)

  • Barbara

    Sorry, the teampyro book review link got mixed up: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-review-...

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/melmollner melmollner

    If I don't believe it, I am lost in the imagination of my heart. I have been there.

    God grant us grace to see past ourselves- to see your glory as the prize of greatest treasure- and that all the treasures we value on this earth are merely a dim portrait of your glorious nature.

  • http://www.jodylynne.blogspot.com Jody

    I loved reading this post, so authentic and transparent. God does speak to us through His written Word if we will but read, meditate, memorize and love God supremely.
    My recent post God's Word-My Center

  • http://www.jodylynne.blogspot.com Jody

    I loved reading this post, so authentic and transparent. God does speak to us through His written Word if we will but read, meditate, memorize and love God supremely.
    My recent post God's Word-My Center

  • Sarah Curry

    Loved reading this today, Chris, because just last night I told my husband I wanted to pray for a "real live answer" about where the children and I will live during his upcoming deployment. Seeing pros and cons for two different sides, I am praying for the Holy Spirit to give us a certain and clear direction. Like you, I don't often expect answers like that from God, usually because I simply don't trust myself to hear Him. So we are praying in faith, but remembering that it is in the means (prayer and trust) rather than the end (an answer) that God is most glorified. Thanks for this post, Chris!

  • Barbara

    (Cont)
    To know that all things work together to that end, and the promise that while He does not hear the prayers of those who are not in Christ, (Prov. 28:9, Isa. 59:1-3, Jn 9:31) if we are in Christ Jesus, His blood makes the way so that we can approach the throne of Grace and thereby know that our prayers are heard, that Christ Himself is at the right hand of God interceding for us and that the Holy Spirit of God is interceding for us as well because we do not know how to pray as we ought (Rom 8:26), and that those prayers then become as the incense on the altar, a pleasing aroma to the LORD…. great comforts to rest in so that whatever decisions are made regarding location and some of the other issues of daily life, if we are striving for hearts that please Him and obey His word, we can quietly rest in His wisdom and care.

  • RussK

    Heb. 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins…

    I'm in joyful general agreement with this post and comments thus far…it's made for great dialog.
    (A rarity sometimes on the web, no ?)

    If the word of the Gospel, through the person of Christ, through His gospel acts of crucifixion and resurrection, is not presently affecting the heart…then I have found that extra personal hearings of God to be less reliable. It's the same with looking at the scriptures and hearing from God there too. At least for me.

    So I want to hear from God, but mainly I want to hear more personally that which He has already said to me through Christ's cross and ascension. When I have heard that well, when it's on the heart…I seem to naturally know what to do or say. I seem to be more able to simply to do the next thing in Love.

    I treasure those experiences that you have alluded to…I'm glad you decided to post about it…I learned the hard way that those experiences come and go and some prove invalid because I am sin-broken…but that the Gospel is all the more reliably rich, personal and sustaining. Amen.

    All this to say happy early Easter…
    Buried with Christ…raised to walk in newness of Life….

  • http://www.dobox.com/ Bruce

    Chris,

    It's a general caution, though that particular passage of Scripture is one of the more popularly wrangled out of context passages that we have today. It's worth remembering that Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with the words of Scripture out of context, and Jesus rebuked him for it. If he was so bold as to go after the Son of God with sacred Scripture, he surely has great fun coming after us with it, which is why we're cautioned to be diligent to rightly divide the word of truth.

    Speaking personally and from Scripture, one of the most blessed things is to be able to rest in God's sovereignty such that, as Susannah Spurgeon – wife of Charles Spurgeon noted, whatever situation I am in today, is God's will for me for today because ALL things work together for the good of those of us who love Him (because He first loved us) and are called according to His purpose, and that good is that we are conformed to His image, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:28-30). (cont)

  • crystal ayala

    So reading this made want to share mine …a week ago I had a dream that I was at church and I seen the image of Jesus and when he looked at me he was telling me something a really huge story but in my dream I couldn't head anything he said ..so that morning I bent on my knees and asked God what was he trying to tell me? So that evening I told my father what happened …n I asked my father if it was okay to have statues they way the catholic church has ..he told me he didn't know so that night I couldn't sleep so I opened up my phone to my bible and normally my bible is on psalm 91 but this night was different it was opened to ezekiel 6 n I didn't pay mind to it so I kept changing the page but my dog ran to the garbage n started ripping the bag so I put my phone down and when I picked up my phone it was back on ezekiel 6!!! So I began to read it this it what it said …Ezekiel 6:1-3 GNT

    1 The LORD spoke to me. 2 “Mortal man,” he said, “look toward the mountains of Israel and give them my message. 3 Tell the mountains of Israel to hear the Sovereign LORD's word—to hear what I, the Sovereign LORD, am telling the mountains, the hills, the gorges, and the valleys: I will send a sword to destroy the places where people worship idols.
    It amazed me to read what it said …it was actually everything I asked him the night before…he was telling me to warn ppl that he is coming really really soon !!!!!!

  • Kim

    I picked up a copy of Crave in a bookstore in an airport several months ago. It wasn't until a few days ago I checked out your blog. For several days I have been praying and searching for answers and comfort regarding the relationship I am currently in . . . to the point of checking out a horoscope website! Of course it offered nothing and then I thought about your blog. Don't know why but I clicked on this one. Then I went to the bookshelf to pull an old copy of The Living Bible – looking for another translation of a scripture. A piece of paper fell out of the book, listing several scriptures; and in handwriting that looks very much like my father's. Each scripture seemed completely random and insignificant , , , until I read the 4th one and "in the morning" jumped out at me. I quickly read the last scripture which also included "in the morning." And I found those same words as I re-read the other passages. I believe God spoke to me this morning . . . to seek in His Word . . . to include reading the Bible in my morning routine . . . not FB updates and horoscopes!

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      Kim, great story! I read it to my brother this evening, and he said (tongue-in-cheek), "Hmm, what a coincidence." It's amazing how God weaves so many threads together to form a picture for us of something He wants to teach us. I love it when it happens to me, and I love it when I hear it happens to others. Thanks again for sharing!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HN73DLQTC6QY3JZBX5RQ5Q5UGM Hurry Up November 2012!

    Yes, Chris.  I not only believe it, I know it.  January 8, 1991 at approximately 9:30 at night, EST.  He spoke to me.  Out loud.  Directly.  Audibly.  “Don’t do it, Gary.”  Those were the words.  It was a male voice, coming from directly behind my head.  I was sitting in my car.  Alone.  Windows up.  The voice spoke as if it was a passenger in the back seat of the car on the driver’s side.  There’s more to this but, for now, I just wanted to share that.

  • Guest

    Chris I just read this absolutely wonderful post. I want to affirm that the Lord does indeed speak to us and not only that he speaks to me as directly as he spoke to you. Let me just briefly share an experience with you that I hope will encourage you and others.
    At my office the Lord presented me with an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ Jesus to a Musilm co-worker. I am completely terrible at making any kind of defense of my faith to someone from a non-Christian faith. However, the Lord has stood at side speaking clealry answers to every question and objection my Muslim friend has raised in our discussions. One time in particular my Muslim friend and I were discussing the Lord and His character when I felt the Lord descend on the conversation providing me with a boldness and encouragement unlike anything I had before. My Muslim friend commented that while we spoke he felt his very soul tremble during that time.
    It has been several weeks since that experience and many conversations have pasted. Today was altogether different for my Muslim friend as he had his first experience with the Lord speaking to him. We stood in the hallway talking about how he truly and earnestly sought to know God and have a relationship with Him. He said, “why can’t God speak to me like He speaks to you before I make a decision on switching my faith?” Shortly afterward we were discussing a relationship with the Lord when he suddenly blurted out, “a relationship with God is like needing to marry a virgin before you truly to know her!” He commented that the thought just popped into his head from nowhere and he wasn’t sure how he came up with it. I was astonished and outright floored at his comment because that is exactly the picture of our relationship with Christ Jesus. For it is we the Body of Chirst who are the bride and Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom. When we accept Him in our hearts as our Savior and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord we are His and Jesus is ours. It is then our eyes are opened and we come to know the Lord through His Word and His voice. I made sure to point out to Muslim friend that he wanted to from the Lord and that what he blurted out was indeed one the foundational truths about our relationship with Jesus. He is so close to the Kingdom of God and I pray that the Lord would open his eyes so that he may see the Lord and have what he so despairly desires. To know God and have a relationship with Him.
    Be blessed everyone and remember it is the Living and Eternal God whom is the author of all creation who we serve!