How do I know when I’ve heard from God? The truth is, I don’t. Not at the time I receive a message. I may believe or suspect it originates from God, but I won’t know for certain until the outcome predicted comes to pass. And if it doesn’t come to pass, I’ll know the provenance didn’t lie in God.
This makes the process of seeking guidance fraught with uncertainty, and yet the wisdom of the ages teaches us to simply trust God, without the need to seek answers about events before they unfold. Unfortunately for me, that doesn’t work. I believe in a living God and I want to hear from Him everyday, especially if I need to make an important decision or am dealing with a problematic issue. Consequently, knowing that the voice within may not always be God’s voice, I’ve learnt to recognise His guidance through other mediums, including books, music and people.
This website is the fruit of a passion I’ve carried for decades. I’ve longed to share my experience of God, in the hope it will draw others to Him. However, after I launched the website I passed through a period of doubt. I questioned whether anyone would read my stories, and even if they did, whether they would find them useful or interesting. I wondered if my website was little more than a self indulgent, whimsical manifestation of a personal obsession, and so I shared my reservations with God. At the time of my misgivings, I was writing Privilege, where the underlying premise is the importance of being good to your mother (namely; paradise lies at your mother’s feet).
I asked God to send me an incontrovertible sign about my doubts and whether they carried substance. I didn’t want to listen for a response within because I knew my ego would jostle for position and convince me I was on the right track. I needed to hear from God in a manner, which was indisputably independent of my own mind, so I left the matter with Him as I continued with my writing.
A few days later, I was reading The Times when I came across an article about Jonathan Aitken and his journey from perjury to priesthood. Mr Aitken spoke of his incredible transformation, including an incident where he’d been asked by a Muslim chaplain to say a few words to prisoners and the only Arabic he could recall was a verse from the Koran that stated “paradise lies at the feet of mothers”. I read those words repeatedly, with increasing fascination until their significance sunk in. In that succinct citation, I recognised God had unequivocally answered my doubts. I was indeed on the right track.
It should be noted that God doesn’t always respond to my prayers so explicitly and with such agility, but experience has taught me that if I’m prepared to wait, the answer will come. Even if it’s from the unlikeliest of sources. After all, God will use any medium to reach us.