Sometimes I really wish God would just tell me what He wants me to do by attaching a sign to the back of a plane and flying over my city. I don't need a whole paragraph or a dissertation or anything like that. Just a few words would be nice, sometimes. Something like "Ashley, write it!" or "Ashley, don't date him!" would have been nice a few years ago. But that's not what He's done. I haven't even seen a message written amongst the clouds. And in fact, I usually only hear silence.
I grew up in a strong Christian community, and have been to church my whole life, and even went to a Christian school. Often I would hear my friends or acquaintances say things like, "God told me..." or "God spoke to me..." and I felt left out. Because God never spoke to me. I knew of people who actually audibly heard the voice of God.
The president of Compassion International, Wess Stafford, tells of an experience he had when he first became president of the organization. He'd gone antelope hunting and was the only one in the field. There weren't any antelope around, so Wess began thinking and praying. The thought occurred to him that maybe, just maybe by the end of his presidency, Compassion could have 1 million sponsored children. And then all of a sudden a voice said, "That's all?" Wess thought someone snuck up on him because the voice was so clear. But nobody else was around. And then the voice said, "What about the rest of them?" The voice of God. Audibly. (If you want to hear Wess tell the story in his own words, visit the Compassion blog.)
I know God can speak that way, but for me it's never happened. For me, God whispers. And He doesn't whisper out loud...I have to be listening. I have to pay attention. Sometimes it's a Bible verse showing up in a "random" place--I have a verse I've always associated with my writing, and whenever I feel discouraged that verse shows up at a restaurant, a church I'm visiting, in a powerpoint presentation at work. Or sometimes it's a song that plays only when I'm asking for an answer. I don't get an answer--but I get reassurance. And sometimes God whispers through my dreams, and I wake up knowing the way I should go. And often, there's a whisper in my heart, accompanied by an undeniable peace. Once, God even went to great lengths to set me up with a friendship of unbelievable "coincidence" and proportion after I lost one of my best friends.
So yes, I know God speaks today. And I know he speaks audibly...sometimes. As far as I know, though, He hasn't yet rented a bi-plane and pulled a banner through the skies. But He has, and does, whisper to me through circumstances and dreams and other people.
How does God speak to you?
Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and expanding her shoe collection. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook or on her website: http://www.ashley-mays.com/.