As I listen to the birds singing every morning, I wish I could distinguish one bird from another. I identify the honking geese as they fly over the lake. And I hear the woodpecker, as he raps for his meal. I can see the difference between a robin and a sparrow, but I can’t tell them apart by their songs.
My husband Dan recognizes the voices of many birds. He knows the robin’s sweet song, and he is familiar with the squawking blue jay. He even points out the mimicking mockingbird. I’m learning a few tips from him.
Recognition. I’ve also discovered a few tips for recognizing God’s voice, since I struggle with the same issue in my spiritual life at times. Is this the voice of conviction or condemnation? Faith or fear? Hope or regrets?
Communication. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns” (Phil. 4:6).
I can get so focused on the worrisome distractions around me that I forget the power of prayer and praise.
Examination. What if you don’t think you can hear God’s voice?
God’s Word promises, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John [10:25] NIV).
In the heat of a crisis, it’s still hard to hang on to God’s promises. My emotions often cause me to lose hope, especially when I can’t see how something can work out. My logic and my feelings tend to resist the truth that I see in God’s Word.
Confession. I don’t want to pray about that! What if you really don’t want to pray about something? Big red flag!
When my kids withdrew and avoided talking with me, I suspected trouble would always follow – a bad report card, hurt feelings, or mischief. But it required a lot of prayer and wisdom to coax them to communicate with me.
I also tend to pull away from God. But He always gives a warning sign to reveal my need for His guidance. Then I speak His truth to my soul, “Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me …” Ps. 1[39:23]-24).
As I recognize the red flag warnings of worry and anxiety in my life, I can focus on God’s Word, listening for His still, small voice. With GraceTalk – speaking His truth to my soul – I find rest and peace for my troubled heart and mind.
I’m still not an expert on identifying the songbirds by their voices, even though I can recognize them if I catch a glimpse of them. Yet in my spirit I know that I’m listening to a symphony of praise to our Creator.
“Let every living, breathing creature praise GOD! Hallelujah!” (Ps. 150:6).
How do you recognize God’s voice?