How to Hear from God When You're in a Crisis
- 2009 19 May
A number of years ago, I tried to rent an apartment from a lady I knew. Oddly enough, even though she was a Spirit-filled, church-going, Bible-toting Christian, she wouldn’t rent me the apartment. I found out why a few days later.
When thinking about renting me the apartment she had prayed, “God, if I’m supposed to rent the apartment to Bayless, the telephone needs to ring so many times before 2:00 pm.” Well, the phone didn’t ring enough times before 2:00 pm that day, so she thought it obviously wasn’t God’s will for her to rent the apartment to me!
You may laugh, but Christians do this kind of thing all the time. If there is not something specific in the Word that directs us concerning a decision we must make, we often want a sign from God to give us direction… especially when we are in a crisis.
Elijah, an Old Testament prophet was like that. When the evil Queen Jezebel was trying to hunt him down and take his life, Elijah fled to the same mountain where God had spoken to Moses. During that encounter between God and Moses there had been a tempest, fire, and earthquake (Hebrews 12:18, Exodus 19:18). God’s guidance to Moses had been bold and unmistakable. It seems Elijah was looking for the same kind of signs and bold direction from God.
But what’s interesting about Elijah’s experience on Mount Sinai… and what’s important for you and me to remember when we’re in a crisis… is that God didn’t speak to him through external outward signs like wind, earthquakes, or fire. Look at what 1 Kings 19:11-12 says,
And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
As with Elijah, I believe that most of the time that God leads us, it’s going to be through the still, small whisper of the Spirit in our heart. Yet many people want more than that. Some people think, “I’m in a desperate situation! I need something more!”
But here’s the point.
Because of Jesus Christ, we have something much better. Because we live under a new covenant, you and I have God on the inside. And generally, when God is going to guide us, He does it using that still, small voice from within.
Think about it: The greatest event that could happen to a human being is the new birth. And how does God let us know that it has happened to us? Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Angels don’t come and unroll scrolls and tell you that you’re saved. Fire doesn’t dance around your living room and tell you that you’re saved. God doesn’t send an earthquake or a mighty rushing wind to let you know that you’re saved. Instead, He gives us the witness of His Holy Spirit from within.
If God confirms the most important decision we’ll ever make in life by the inward witness of the Spirit, why should we look for some outward sign to give us direction when we’re in a crisis? When you look for the spectacular, you’re liable to miss the supernatural that is right in front of you all along.
Maybe today, you’re in a crisis. Perhaps it’s crunch time. And maybe you want the wind, an earthquake, or a fire. Let me tell you, God is not going to give you any of that. What He will give to you… and every one of His children… is that still small whisper of the Spirit.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me.” And the way we hear His voice is through the Holy Spirit who has taken up residence within us.
We just have to be quiet enough to hear!
Original publication date: May 19, 2009