He Wants to Speak To You

I’m incredibly amazed by many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis. People I don’t know write me to ask my advice on all kinds of things, like what to say to a friend of theirs who is in sin, what kind of decision to make for their future, what they should do about fellowship, or even what might be the key to free them from some element of bondage.

Now, I don’t take those lightly. I know the people on the other side of those emails are incredibly desperate. Some are angry or lonely or at the end of their rope and feel they have no one else to turn to. But what they don’t realize is the incredible limitations of email, either for me to truly know what is going on in their hearts or in my ability to communicate with them what they would most need to hear in a limited email.

But beyond those concerns there is something more fundamental that disturbs me. I am a total stranger to them and they to me. I can’t really get to know the situation they are in by their own assessment of it. I’m only getting one side of a story. I don’t know the people they are interacting with or the nature of the relationship they have with them. Why would anyone trust the words of a stranger a thousand of miles away, to the God who already lives in them?

Is this part of the residue of our religious systems that always sets up an expert between us and God? We think the “man of God” has a more direct pipeline to God than what he wants to share with each of his followers. This is one of the sad fruits of our practicing Christianity as if it is a religion. We’re just certain that there are techniques others know that I don’t, rather than embrace the reality that God wants to have a personal connection with all of his children to help them learn to live freely in his life.

A couple of days ago, I got one of these emails from a woman caught in some very desperate circumstances and feeling like God was no where to be found. Her email was titled, “Where is God?” My heart went out to her as I read it, but I again felt as if she needed something more than a ‘word from Wayne’. She needed him!

Imagine my joy when less than 12 hours later, and before I had a chance to respond, I got another email from the same woman titled, “Never mind.” I thought at first she might be upset that I hadn’t responded in the twelve hours since she’d sent it to me. But that wasn’t the case at all. What she wrote thrilled my heart:

Don’t feel like you need to respond to my last e-mail. I sat for a few hours and watched the moon inch slowly across the sky. Sitting under the night sky all night helped clear my mind. God answered a bunch of my questions. So I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK. Our conversation started like this, “Why do you keep asking (other) people these questions? I’m waiting for you to ask Me.”

I think God is waiting for all of us to ask him. And I mean exactly like this woman did, in a quiet place. Too often we think we’re praying when we rush around throwing up desperate requests to God and yet we never draw to a quiet place long enough to listen to his response.

This reminded me of an experience I had with my daughter when she was twelve. She was afraid we were going to make her go to something she didn’t want to go to. We assured her we wouldn’t make her go. Now that she was twelve she had the freedom to go or not go, depending on what God wanted for her. She asked how she would know that, and we told her just to ask. Get in a quiet place and ask him if he wants you to go or not, sit in silence for a bit and see what she felt God was saying to her. She did. Fifteen minutes later she told us that she felt God wanted her to go. And she did, with a much-improved attitude because God had asked her to, not her parents had demanded it of her.

Hearing God and knowing his presence is not rocket science. It only takes a simple heart willing to be honest with him, to pause long enough to see what impressions he puts on our hearts, and to follow him as he leads us. It will help if you discard all your expectations about what he should say or should do. Let him be God and don’t so much see him as the fairy-godmother who will fix everything to make you happy, but the Abba who can walk you through anything with his grace and glory.

Will we make mistakes learning to follow him? Sure. But he can overcome those, too, and in doing so we all get to learn better the difference between his voice and yours.

And, please none of this is not meant to discount the value of a helping friend when we’re so buried in our own pain that we can’t see our way out. Just make sure that helping hand comes from someone who knows you well enough to really be of help, and that they are helping you connect with God instead of listening to God for you. Those who try to build a ministry out of other people’s dependence really don’t get what the Gospel is all about.

Anyone who truly knows the glory of living in the Father’s reality wouldn’t dream of robbing that same opportunity from someone else.

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28 Comments
  1. Pamela October 18, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I totally agree with this. One of the Bible teachers at my club has a series that he teaches called Face to Face. They are not necessarily Bible lessons as such. They are examples from his own life where he learned how to get in that quiet place and hear His instructions. This is the best thing a Christian can learn. The horrible price paid by Christ was to provide that relationship with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. When we are able to get in that quiet place we can clearly hear what we need to know in every situation. The teacher uses the phrase ‘taking trips to the barber shop at 2 pm’ to describe making mistakes in following Him. The hypothetical story goes like this: A Christian feels the Lord is telling them to go to the barber shop at 2 pm to witness to a customer there. The Christian goes to the barber shop at 2 pm but it is closed. The Christian asks ‘Why did the Lord tell me to go to the barber shop at 2 pm to witness to someone when the shop was closed?’ We know it is because the Lord did not give that instruction:)

    I love this post. The one thing that I have been so grateful to know is that we do not have to be in the dark. We have the opportunity to clearly hear the heart of the Father. It can take time to learn how to get in that place and listen. When we hear Him we are never steered in the wrong direction. I’m so glad the lady heard from the Lord. That is the most precious thing on earth.

  2. Pamela October 19, 2008 at 12:53 am

    I totally agree with this. One of the Bible teachers at my club has a series that he teaches called Face to Face. They are not necessarily Bible lessons as such. They are examples from his own life where he learned how to get in that quiet place and hear His instructions. This is the best thing a Christian can learn. The horrible price paid by Christ was to provide that relationship with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. When we are able to get in that quiet place we can clearly hear what we need to know in every situation. The teacher uses the phrase ‘taking trips to the barber shop at 2 pm’ to describe making mistakes in following Him. The hypothetical story goes like this: A Christian feels the Lord is telling them to go to the barber shop at 2 pm to witness to a customer there. The Christian goes to the barber shop at 2 pm but it is closed. The Christian asks ‘Why did the Lord tell me to go to the barber shop at 2 pm to witness to someone when the shop was closed?’ We know it is because the Lord did not give that instruction:)

    I love this post. The one thing that I have been so grateful to know is that we do not have to be in the dark. We have the opportunity to clearly hear the heart of the Father. It can take time to learn how to get in that place and listen. When we hear Him we are never steered in the wrong direction. I’m so glad the lady heard from the Lord. That is the most precious thing on earth.

  3. David Grant October 19, 2008 at 1:59 am

    I agree that there is a tendency to not take responsibility for our decisions and enjoying our rightful place of being able to hear Father for ourselves. That said, when a person first comes to God, the strong or mature ones should be there to serve him/her to know God’s voice. What generally happens though is they are simply taught the group’s party line. The reason your daughter was able to go to God at the age of 12 was because you had been teaching her that concept for quite some time already.

    All of the one anothers in the New Testament seem to bring to light that the way God would often want to speak to us is through those close to us. What is disheartening in organized systems is that they promise community but fail to deliver. Nor do they point us in the direction of hearing Jesus.

    As the pendulum is swinging it might be possible for us to get caught in the trap of thinking that the body of Christ on earth, His church, is not important for our nurturing. Mature people may know how to see the pitfalls within the extremes of individualism or groupism but there are many new Christians who are being tossed about like the waves of the sea. We do need each other. One of the great mysteries is that God has chosen us to represent Him on earth.

    The free flowing relationships that you have and describe so beautifully in your writings is a mystery for many. Hopefully, others won’t be satisfied with either isolation or conforming to a group and will learn the art of living the way you describe our life in Christ to be.

  4. David Grant October 19, 2008 at 4:59 am

    I agree that there is a tendency to not take responsibility for our decisions and enjoying our rightful place of being able to hear Father for ourselves. That said, when a person first comes to God, the strong or mature ones should be there to serve him/her to know God’s voice. What generally happens though is they are simply taught the group’s party line. The reason your daughter was able to go to God at the age of 12 was because you had been teaching her that concept for quite some time already.

    All of the one anothers in the New Testament seem to bring to light that the way God would often want to speak to us is through those close to us. What is disheartening in organized systems is that they promise community but fail to deliver. Nor do they point us in the direction of hearing Jesus.

    As the pendulum is swinging it might be possible for us to get caught in the trap of thinking that the body of Christ on earth, His church, is not important for our nurturing. Mature people may know how to see the pitfalls within the extremes of individualism or groupism but there are many new Christians who are being tossed about like the waves of the sea. We do need each other. One of the great mysteries is that God has chosen us to represent Him on earth.

    The free flowing relationships that you have and describe so beautifully in your writings is a mystery for many. Hopefully, others won’t be satisfied with either isolation or conforming to a group and will learn the art of living the way you describe our life in Christ to be.

  5. j October 19, 2008 at 5:50 am

    I found this post very profound and relevant. I was one of those folks sending you an e-mail and you were very encouraging. Just a couple of weeks ago I found myself typing another and stopped…said to myself..”why am I doing this”…I took it to God instead. I know you won’t be offended when I say I am leaning into him now and learning to trust him. Thanks for all you do.

  6. j October 19, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I found this post very profound and relevant. I was one of those folks sending you an e-mail and you were very encouraging. Just a couple of weeks ago I found myself typing another and stopped…said to myself..”why am I doing this”…I took it to God instead. I know you won’t be offended when I say I am leaning into him now and learning to trust him. Thanks for all you do.

  7. Leonard October 19, 2008 at 9:50 am

    A view from outside the window.

    I agree with most of this, but Wayne you gotta remember that your no stranger to many of us. out here in the fields, by reading your books and listening to your pod casts, people can get a sense of you and who you are .I for one, do sense a connection.

    Best
    Leonard

  8. Bill October 19, 2008 at 10:50 am

    I’ll be 58 years old next week, and have been going to an organized church nearly all my life (until recently, that is). I think it is correct to say that every one of those organizations taught the need to have a “personal relationship with Jesus”. However, as I think back on each of those organizations, I can’t think of any that actually taught me how to hear the voice of the Father!!! They taught Bible studies, catechism, theology, religion, and rules, but not much on personal relationship with the Father to the extent of hearing His voice. How strange!!

    It’s hard for me to hear God’s voice regularly — there are always lots of other things going through my head. But I’m convinced that this is one of those important things and it is worth the time spent waiting and listening.

    Last Monday morning, a herd of deer was grazing just outside the window while I was having breakfast. I had the morning news on, and I was a bit anxious about what the financial markets would do. Then I heard the Father say to me “See, those deer out there don’t even know about a financial crisis”. My entire day was changed because I knew that my Father would watch over me and take care of me too!

  9. Leonard October 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    A view from outside the window.

    I agree with most of this, but Wayne you gotta remember that your no stranger to many of us. out here in the fields, by reading your books and listening to your pod casts, people can get a sense of you and who you are .I for one, do sense a connection.

    Best
    Leonard

  10. Bill October 19, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I’ll be 58 years old next week, and have been going to an organized church nearly all my life (until recently, that is). I think it is correct to say that every one of those organizations taught the need to have a “personal relationship with Jesus”. However, as I think back on each of those organizations, I can’t think of any that actually taught me how to hear the voice of the Father!!! They taught Bible studies, catechism, theology, religion, and rules, but not much on personal relationship with the Father to the extent of hearing His voice. How strange!!

    It’s hard for me to hear God’s voice regularly — there are always lots of other things going through my head. But I’m convinced that this is one of those important things and it is worth the time spent waiting and listening.

    Last Monday morning, a herd of deer was grazing just outside the window while I was having breakfast. I had the morning news on, and I was a bit anxious about what the financial markets would do. Then I heard the Father say to me “See, those deer out there don’t even know about a financial crisis”. My entire day was changed because I knew that my Father would watch over me and take care of me too!

  11. kent October 19, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Last Monday morning, a herd of deer was grazing just outside the window while I was having breakfast. I had the morning news on, and I was a bit anxious about what the financial markets would do. Then I heard the Father say to me “See, those deer out there don’t even know about a financial crisis”. My entire day was changed because I knew that my Father would watch over me and take care of me too!

    NOW THAT’S REALLY COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Pam October 19, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Great post. Our friend Lew is also asked by many people questions about what they should do or what he thinks about this, that or the other thing. He doesn’t hold an official position per se; people just think he’s wise. His response is almost always, “Ask Jesus.” So he is wise. I’ve thought about making him an “Ask Jesus” Tshirt.

  13. kent October 19, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Last Monday morning, a herd of deer was grazing just outside the window while I was having breakfast. I had the morning news on, and I was a bit anxious about what the financial markets would do. Then I heard the Father say to me “See, those deer out there don’t even know about a financial crisis”. My entire day was changed because I knew that my Father would watch over me and take care of me too!

    NOW THAT’S REALLY COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Pam October 19, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Great post. Our friend Lew is also asked by many people questions about what they should do or what he thinks about this, that or the other thing. He doesn’t hold an official position per se; people just think he’s wise. His response is almost always, “Ask Jesus.” So he is wise. I’ve thought about making him an “Ask Jesus” Tshirt.

  15. George October 20, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Why would anyone trust the words of a stranger a thousand miles away, to the God who already lives in them?

    Fear, and the residue from religious, family, social and economic institutions…..any one and perhaps all of these have fostered the reluctance and mistrust that we really have an ALL ACCESS PASS to the Father.

    Thank you, for pointing in the direction away from yourself, and distractions…..to a quite place with him!

  16. George October 21, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Why would anyone trust the words of a stranger a thousand miles away, to the God who already lives in them?

    Fear, and the residue from religious, family, social and economic institutions…..any one and perhaps all of these have fostered the reluctance and mistrust that we really have an ALL ACCESS PASS to the Father.

    Thank you, for pointing in the direction away from yourself, and distractions…..to a quite place with him!

  17. Kelly October 22, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Wayne, as someone who has written a couple of those emails and asked you a few questions, I just wanted to note the reason I ask you.

    Sometimes, a person is in a place where they don’t know how to trust God, don’t know how to talk to Him. Then they see someone who knows Him, someone who gives people this picture of Him that doesn’t fit at all with the picture of Him that is driving their fear. They want to know what this person knows that they don’t know – or WHO this person knows that they don’t know.

    See, I know you know God. You’re like Paul, writing letters, sharing with people about His heart and His life. You’re the proof to me that His Spirit really does work in our lives, a living letter constantly speaking of Him. I want to talk to you, to hear what He is doing and what He has done in you on your journey, because it gives me courage to keep walking this path sometimes when God feels far away.

    I would be the last person to say that we should go to anyone besides God first, but sometimes, we humans don’t know how to not go to someone else. Simply put, I ask you questions and read your blog because I know you’re going to point me to Him. And I know it’s real.

    Every time you answer a question or an email, who knows how God will use it? I love that when you’ve answered some of mine, you’ve been wrong about something and God says, “But see here, this is what I’m saying to YOU.” Sometimes, asking other people questions can trigger conversation with God too. Sometimes, just getting the need out there gives Him room to talk to us and things to consider we never would have considered.

    I think sometimes we ask because we are children, young in our faith, and in the asking we are growing and admitting we don’t have the answers, and we know you trust Him for them, and we want to hear the real thing from somebody who hears Him and knows Him so we know it’s not all canned religious crap about the 12 steps here or there that lead to whatever.

    So Wayne, thank you for being you, for being used by Him – almost, for getting in His Way. Because His Way is Jesus Christ, and your love for Him encourages us all to find Him for ourselves.

  18. Amy October 22, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Wayne, thanks for your email te other day but I wanted to add here and second what Kelly said. Some of us have been so mucked up by religion that it takes a while to get to where we can hear father.

    And, the lack of ANYONE to talk to about our problems (lack of fellowship) is what drives us to email people 1000 miles away. Advice might not always be what’s needed, but a listening ear and ‘you’re not alone’ can help a struggling person get re-grounded. Jesus said we are to be in fellowship, we are created for community. The church has become so weak and fragmented in our country and real relationship become so hard to find. Many people aren’t really looking for advice so much as just another caring human connection in a hard world.

  19. Kelly October 22, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Wayne, as someone who has written a couple of those emails and asked you a few questions, I just wanted to note the reason I ask you.

    Sometimes, a person is in a place where they don’t know how to trust God, don’t know how to talk to Him. Then they see someone who knows Him, someone who gives people this picture of Him that doesn’t fit at all with the picture of Him that is driving their fear. They want to know what this person knows that they don’t know – or WHO this person knows that they don’t know.

    See, I know you know God. You’re like Paul, writing letters, sharing with people about His heart and His life. You’re the proof to me that His Spirit really does work in our lives, a living letter constantly speaking of Him. I want to talk to you, to hear what He is doing and what He has done in you on your journey, because it gives me courage to keep walking this path sometimes when God feels far away.

    I would be the last person to say that we should go to anyone besides God first, but sometimes, we humans don’t know how to not go to someone else. Simply put, I ask you questions and read your blog because I know you’re going to point me to Him. And I know it’s real.

    Every time you answer a question or an email, who knows how God will use it? I love that when you’ve answered some of mine, you’ve been wrong about something and God says, “But see here, this is what I’m saying to YOU.” Sometimes, asking other people questions can trigger conversation with God too. Sometimes, just getting the need out there gives Him room to talk to us and things to consider we never would have considered.

    I think sometimes we ask because we are children, young in our faith, and in the asking we are growing and admitting we don’t have the answers, and we know you trust Him for them, and we want to hear the real thing from somebody who hears Him and knows Him so we know it’s not all canned religious crap about the 12 steps here or there that lead to whatever.

    So Wayne, thank you for being you, for being used by Him – almost, for getting in His Way. Because His Way is Jesus Christ, and your love for Him encourages us all to find Him for ourselves.

  20. Amy October 22, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Wayne, thanks for your email te other day but I wanted to add here and second what Kelly said. Some of us have been so mucked up by religion that it takes a while to get to where we can hear father.

    And, the lack of ANYONE to talk to about our problems (lack of fellowship) is what drives us to email people 1000 miles away. Advice might not always be what’s needed, but a listening ear and ‘you’re not alone’ can help a struggling person get re-grounded. Jesus said we are to be in fellowship, we are created for community. The church has become so weak and fragmented in our country and real relationship become so hard to find. Many people aren’t really looking for advice so much as just another caring human connection in a hard world.

  21. Wayne October 22, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Just for the record there is a real difference between encouraging someone on their journey, letting them know they are not alone in the struggle, and being asked to give advice on very specific situations, about which I have limited knowledge. At this point in my life I’ve been able to write back every one who has written me and try to help them in whatever way email allows. But I can see the day when that will no longer be possible. The inflow of email is approaching a level with which I cannot keep up unless that’s all I did.

    So I’m always looking to encourage folks. But I’m also looking for them to really tie into God as their friend, mentor and Counselor!

    OK?

    Wayne

  22. Wayne October 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Just for the record there is a real difference between encouraging someone on their journey, letting them know they are not alone in the struggle, and being asked to give advice on very specific situations, about which I have limited knowledge. At this point in my life I’ve been able to write back every one who has written me and try to help them in whatever way email allows. But I can see the day when that will no longer be possible. The inflow of email is approaching a level with which I cannot keep up unless that’s all I did.

    So I’m always looking to encourage folks. But I’m also looking for them to really tie into God as their friend, mentor and Counselor!

    OK?

    Wayne

  23. Freetorun November 6, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for spreading freedom…:o)

  24. Freetorun November 6, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for spreading freedom…:o)

  25. Kevin in Manila February 7, 2009 at 4:43 am

    This is a balance we have to keep as ministers–answering questions, but at the same time teaching others to hear God for themselves.

  26. Kevin in Manila February 7, 2009 at 7:43 am

    This is a balance we have to keep as ministers–answering questions, but at the same time teaching others to hear God for themselves.

  27. Angela June 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks Wayne n you all for answering my questions n saying what i always knew was the answer- turning to and asking him.

    I just got confused a bit. Dads a pastor. Hes about 78. He loves God but hes a stickler for religion.

    We grew up being told

    -read ur bible,pray n walk in obedience then you can have a relationship with God

    -God speaks to his children but there r 3 voices within you:the voice of God,the voice of the devil n the voice of your mind

    -only very few can hear the voice of God.

    -to know if its Gods voice, it should not contradict the word

    -the fact that it doesnt contradict the word doesnt mean its God; just because its good, doesnt mean its God

    -God doesnt talk all the time. Most times he says nothing. You should just trust him…

    I try to take out time to be still n commune with him without questioning evrythn i hear.

    Would hve gotten more confusd but im learning to just relax,knowng hes more intrested in leading n teachng me as long as i trust him.

    Its a priviledge to be a part of this community. Stay strong you all n God bless

  28. Angela June 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks Wayne n you all for answering my questions n saying what i always knew was the answer- turning to and asking him.

    I just got confused a bit. Dads a pastor. Hes about 78. He loves God but hes a stickler for religion.

    We grew up being told

    -read ur bible,pray n walk in obedience then you can have a relationship with God

    -God speaks to his children but there r 3 voices within you:the voice of God,the voice of the devil n the voice of your mind

    -only very few can hear the voice of God.

    -to know if its Gods voice, it should not contradict the word

    -the fact that it doesnt contradict the word doesnt mean its God; just because its good, doesnt mean its God

    -God doesnt talk all the time. Most times he says nothing. You should just trust him…

    I try to take out time to be still n commune with him without questioning evrythn i hear.

    Would hve gotten more confusd but im learning to just relax,knowng hes more intrested in leading n teachng me as long as i trust him.

    Its a priviledge to be a part of this community. Stay strong you all n God bless

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