Have you ever wanted to hear from God? Undoubtedly, the answer is, “YES! ABSOLUTELY!!” Whether it is an employment decision, relationship guidance, or an explanation for tragedy, we have had multiple moments in our lives when we wanted to hear from God. While God may not speak audibly to us today, He still speaks. He speaks through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. The Spirit grants Christians access to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). Even though God still speaks, many Christians don’t hear His voice.
First Kings 19:11-18 provides us with perspective on hearing the voice of God. Elijah is depressed and feels abandoned. The Word of the Lord comes to him and instructs him to stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord. As Elijah is on the mountain a great strong wind passes by, but God was not in the wind. A powerful earthquake and a fire also occur, but God was not in either of those. Finally there is a soft whisper and behold, God was in the whisper.
We want God to yell at us. We want Him to shout out the solutions to our problems. We expect Him to scream to get our attention. So the issue is not that God is not speaking. I believe the real issue is that we cannot hear Him because we are expecting Him to communicate in a way different from how He typically communicates. Think about it. Why do people yell and shout? It is typically for one of two reasons: there is a great distance between them and person with whom they are communicating, or the environment is so loud that they have to yell. That means that God shouldn’t have to yell at us.
James teaches that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. God wants us close to Him. Our relationship with God should be so intimate that we can hear Him whisper to our spirit. God wants us to have lives that are not full of noise. Many of us can’t hear God because we are listening to the shouting of the culture. When we are of the world, we are unable to hear the voice of God. So if you want to hear God speak, turn off the voices of the world that are creating noise in your spirit. The noise of busyness, media, worry, and worldliness. Get to a quiet place. Then get closer to God. Draw near to Him; so close that you can hear God whisper.
Over the last several weeks the ugly reality of abuse and harassment in America has been headline news. Those who have come forward had been suffering in silence for years, and in some cases decades. While many have come forward, there are still thousands more who continue to suffer in silence. Like Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, they have been threatened by their abusers, and encouraged by family members and those in power to keep quiet.
In 2 Samuel 13, Tamar is violated by her brother Amnon. King David, their father, learns of the crime, gets angry, but does nothing. He does not protect his daughter, nor hold Amnon accountable for his crime. Absalom, another son of David, tells Tamar not to tell anybody what her brother, Amnon, did to her. Not only does he tell her to be quiet but he tells her not to let what happened bother her. Tamar would spend the rest of her life suffering in silence. She was the victim of abuse, but was treated like the abuser. She was made to feel that she brought it on herself and contributed to her own victimization. She spent the rest of her life in a destroyed and ruined state. She was abandoned by all who could help her, deserted, and in personal poverty. Absalom took justice into his own hands, but Tamar never got the help she needed.
In our families and in our churches, we have those who are suffering in the silence of desolation. In some instances, people are aware of the abuse but have told the victim of the abuse not to talk about it. Victims have been told, “Just get over it. Don’t think about it. Don’t let it bother you.” They are never given validation, and the opportunity to hurt so that they can heal. Those who could help and should help have abandoned the victims and treated them like they did something wrong.
Although Tamar’s story ends with her suffering in the silence, that does not have to be the way your story ends. There is salvation from your suffering. Understand that what happened to you was not your fault. There was nothing you did to deserve being violated. You are still valuable, God loves you, and you can overcome what happened to you.
Spiritually, bring all your painful feelings and hard questions to God in prayer. Invite Him to minister to you through His Spirit and His Word. And as He heals you, seek to bring His healing to others. Believe that God has a good future filled with new hope in store for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Walk into your future one step at a time, knowing that you'll make progress with every step you take. Additionally, support groups, professional counseling, Christian counseling, and agencies that provide resources to victims of abuse have been proven helpful in assisting people in overcoming the pain of abuse.
If you are currently in an abusive situation make safety your first priority. You can call 911 for immediate help. Develop a safety plan in case you need to leave home quickly. For help call 800-799-SAFE for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or 211.
Last week I shared six of Dr. George Manning’s time management principles. This week I will share six more. The comments in brackets are mine.
A few weeks ago, I reflected on the importance of planning ahead and making the most of our time. Dr. George Manning, a professor at Northern Kentucky University, recently shared with me a post that he wrote on time management. It was a blessing to my life and I want to share excerpts from his article with you. The following are six of the twelve principles he mentions for effective time management. Embracing these principles will help us not worry about anything (Philippians 4:6).
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.