“What am I doing wrong?” Rita asked me with a look of exasperation in her eyes. “Why doesn’t’ God speak to me?”

Rita had known the Lord as her Savior for a year, but she had never “heard” His voice.

“What are you expecting to hear?” I asked Rita, trying to understand where she was coming from.

“His voice, the thundering, the boom – I don’t know – you tell me!” she said, throwing up her hands in frustration.

All this time that Rita had been growing in her relationship with God, she’d been waiting for God to speak audibly to her from heaven. She’d been listening for His whisper to warn her as she headed out the front door. She was looking for the burning bush, the bright lights, the vision full of crystal-clear direction. And all this time, she heard and saw nothing.

After I talked with Rita for a while about the way God speaks to His loved ones, she began to recall that God had spoken to her – through the counsel she received in His Word, through circumstances that led her in a certain direction, through godly advice she received from a leader in her church. God had spoken, she admitted. But she had never realized it was Him.

Like Rita, many of us talk to the Lord often and just want to hear Him talk back now and then. But sometimes we aren’t sure how He’s going to do it. We’re not sure what to listen for. In the more than 40 years since I’ve given my life to Jesus Christ, I can probably count on one hand the times God has spoken to me in a life-changing, memorable moment. And in none of those experiences was there an audible voice, a thundering from heaven, a burning bush, or a rushing wind. It was usually a still small voice that gave me an inner peace, a loving rebuke that changed my ways, the written Word of God that pierced my heart, or a sense of calling and direction that wouldn’t let me be until I followed.

God speaks in various ways by the Holy Spirit to those in relationship with Him – through His Word (the Bible), through prayer (and what He lays on our hearts to pray for), through circumstances in our life, and through the church (godly advice from believers). And in my experience, I would have to say that He has spoken most clearly when I’ve been the most obedient, the most in need of comfort, and for the most part, not straining an ear to hear Him.

God Speaks through His Word– God often speaks to us through His Word, bringing Scripture alive before our eyes to speak to our specific need or situation. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” His Word is all these things so that we will have everything we need – even intimate communication through His gentle teaching, reproof, correction, and training of our hearts and souls. So when you read God’s Word and you are enlightened, convicted or corrected, God has spoken to you.

The Bible also says God’s Word is “living and active.” “Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit….it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). When your heart is pierced and you sense God is speaking directly to you, it’s probably because He is. He just touched your heart with His Word.

The Lord speaks to us in different ways at different times and in different tones, sometimes saying the same thing He always says but in a way that recaptures our heart and causes us to fall deeper in love with Him.

God Speaks through His Witnesses – God’s Spirit indwells those who have a relationship with Him. Therefore, God can speak to you through the wise counsel of another believer. Bu there we must be careful. When we sense God is speaking to us through someone else, we must ask ourselves:Does this contradict anything in God’s Word?