We’ve identified different channels on which people claim to have experienced the presence of God. As you read the following chapters, tune in to different channels—signs and circumstances, the words of other people, history, dreams and visions, nature, your emotions, your conscience, and Scripture—and perhaps you will hear him in ways you never have.

Are these the only channels?

Not likely.

But these are the airwaves that seem to carry the most traffic.

And let’s just get this out on the page: both of us authors believe that God speaks to us. Not in a Charlton Heston voice but in other ways—including the stories in this book.

God speaks,

and

sometimes we even hear him.

It’s not always like we expect; sometimes it’s downright surprising. Unexpected. Confusing. Frightening. Peaceful or disturbing. Both of us have learned a few things from our initial encounters with hearing God speak—and we believe he does.

But it’s equally important that you know we’re not Kool-Aid drinkers—we don’t believe everyone who claims to hear God speak actually does.

As friends and cowriters, we’ve shared intimate details of our spiritual lives, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but frankly, we can still have doubts about each other’s stories. As we should have. These kinds of things aren’t provable. We eye the stories in this book as skeptically as we eye each other’s stories.

The paradox is this: Sometimes we’re all skeptical of another person’s story. But we’re never skeptical of our own. Mary gave up her reputation for her belief that she heard God. Cecil Murphey was willing to give his life. Joan of Arc did. When we have such a convincing experience, we can move past our own skepticism and begin to believe others’ stories.

Hearing God speak is a personal thing. In this book, we have no plans to convince you that God is speaking to you or even speaking at all. You will be convinced only when you experience it. You may read this book and doubt whether these stories happened as we describe them. We even have some doubts as we write them. But the question isn’t whether God speaks to Mark or to Jennifer, to Joan or to Mary, or to any of the other people mentioned in this book. The question is, Does God speak to you?

We believe he does. And as you read this book, we’ll be your guides on a listening journey that shows you how he does.

From Nine Ways God Always Speaks.  Copyright © 2009 by Mark Herringshaw & Jennifer Schuchmann.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.