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When We Don’t Hear God’s Voice

“I wish God would just speak to me in a clear voice and tell me what He wants me to do,” Jay said with a shrug. He has been planning to purchase a home for a while now. He has been saving money and paying off debt. Eventually he started looking at properties. The estate agents were eager to help him. Due to the current world situation and COVID-19, sales have been slow.
Jay viewed many different properties and was praying that God would show him what to do. He didn’t want to spend too much money and also wanted to be able to sell the property if necessary. Eventually he found the perfect place. He prayed that if it was God’s will, the owner would accept his offer. The owner did accept it, but the next day someone else made a higher bid, and he took that instead.

Jay was confused and disappointed. “I just don’t know. I can’t hear God speaking to me. Why is it so unclear?”

I didn’t know what to tell him. I tried to explain that God speaks to us in different ways, but that didn’t seem to help him feel any better. I kept thinking about our conversation for the next week and talked to God about it. A thought about instant gratification came to my mind—the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Instant gratification is the opposite of the character-building practice of delaying gratification.

We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. We expect instant information from our devices. Social media gives us instant ability to upload videos, photos and status updates. We receive instant feedback from our social-media followers. We can respond instantly to emails and tweets. We have the ability to make things happen without having to wait. Because our devices are ubiquitous, our connectedness is constant. Rarely are we required to be patient.

I thought about the lives of people in the Bible, and I was struck by the contrast with modern life.

With all these distractions and expectations of instant gratification, I wonder what helps us to hear God’s voice. Perhaps silence is one of God’s ways of trying to connect with us—teaching us patience while we wait. We have to wait for pandemic restrictions to lift, wait for borders to open, wait for the COVID-19 curve to flatten, and wait for life to return to normal.
I explained my thoughts to Jay, and he seemed to take some courage. Please pray for this young man. Ask God to speak to him clearly. He needs God’s presence in his life now more than ever.

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