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Mar 27, 2019 504 0 Teresa Weider
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When God Spoke to Me

I f I were to confide—even to my closest friend—that I heard a voice that guided me, consoled or chastised me, there is no doubt I would receive a raised eyebrow or two.

Today’s world looks strangely at people who admit they hear a voice now and then. Yet the Lord says in the book of Jeremiah (7:23) “Thus says the LORD: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.” Psalm 95:7-8 reminds us: “Oh, that today you would hear His voice do not harden your hearts …”

Jesus tells us He is the Good Shepherd and in the gospel of John (10:27), He says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.” God talks to us. He tells us He talks to us and we should listen.

As Christians walking through this worldly life, why do we find it uncomfortable to think of the possibility of a real encounter with hearing our Lord’s voice? How do we know if we are hearing the voice of God? How can we recognize the Good Shepherd talking to us? I believe God reaches out to us in ways we can relate to. I also believe there are many stories of how people today hear Him and recognize His voice.

One particular story took place on a Friday in June 2007. In Sacramento County, California, the temperature outside had risen higher than 102 degrees. It was a very clear, sunny day with no clouds to filter the blazing hot sun.

Friday was my day for the big, weekly grocery shopping trip. It was a long-standing tradition (regardless of what happened during the week) that our family would gather on Friday evening, have a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie together. The highlight, however, was topping it off with a bowl of ice cream. We rarely had ice cream on other days of the week so my family eagerly looked forward to the creamy treat. This Friday night would be no different, especially as the hot weather would make the ice cream even more appreciated.

I intended to get to the store, shop quickly and hurry home, before the intense heat could build in my car and cause perishable groceries to thaw or become warm during the ride home. Good intentions verses actual occurrences often make for very interesting stories.

Testing Times

We had a teenage son at the time and, as most parents of teenagers would agree, it can be challenging to convince a teenager that you have his or her best interests at heart.

We know through experience that prohibiting them from going places or doing things that are potentially harmful for them can be testing. This was also the case with our son. That Thursday evening things had not gone as well as we had hoped. We did not see eye-to-eye on a few subjects concerning his well-being; after a lengthy discussion it became apparent that we had to exercise good parental judgement on his behalf. To put it mildly, he adamantly objected. The next morning he went off to school in a teenage huff and I headed out, with a heavy heart, to do our weekly grocery shopping.

This was the first opportunity I had to be alone with my thoughts and, more importantly, alone with God. As I drove to the store I began telling God about my motherly frustrations and feelings of parental inadequacies in reaching our son. The closer I came to the store, the deeper the conversation. In a prayerful haze, I entering the grocery store, ticked items off my list and loaded my cart. With each aisle, the cart and my prayers became heavier. In retrospect, it was mostly a one-sided conversation. I wanted God to listen to my venting; I had not really given God a chance to answer anything that weighed heavily on my heart.

Resounding Command

My list was almost complete when I heard a quiet but direct voice say to me, “Come see Me.” I stopped. I literally stopped in the middle of the aisle to process what I thought I just heard. I must have been mistaken. I have to admit I was a little shaken and my prayer changed to asking God to protect me. I looked around a little bit, gathered my thoughts and slowly proceeded to the frozen food section. Here I would select the most important item on the list, ice cream. Again, I heard “Come see Me.” The voice was gentle, calm and encouraging. Somehow I knew it was God asking me to come and see Him. I was confused. How could I go and see Him? When and where could I go to see Him? I didn’t understand! Almost as soon as I asked the questions I had the answer. I heard a third time: “Come see Me.” The final time had a more defined, authoritative tone.

Our church is blessed to have an Adoration Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament waits for anyone who wishes to visit our Lord. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was where He wanted me to come see Him. I also knew He wanted me to come right away. But wait! My spiritual world and my worldly world were about to collide. I had a cart full of groceries. I had perishable items. I had frozen items. I had ice cream! “Lord, it is 102 degrees outside! If I come to see you now, my groceries are going to be ruined in the hot car. Moreover, do you realize what you are asking of me? I am never going to hear the end of this if I come home with inedible melted ice cream! I already have many strikes against me after last night. Ice cream is all I have right now to ease the tension with our son.”

Then I began to prayerfully barter with the voice. “Ok. I will come and see you after I go home and unload the groceries. Then I will head over to the Adoration Chapel.” Nothing; I heard absolutely nothing. However, I knew I had heard my shepherd’s voice and realized that He wanted me to obey Him. He wanted me to trust Him.

Upon completion of my shopping I put my cartload of groceries into the car that was easily well above 120 degrees. In obedience, I pointed my car in the direction of the Adoration Chapel. Resigned to the fact that obedience to His voice was far more important than my groceries, I planned to humbly explain to my family what had happened and take any consequences. During the 20 to 30 minutes I spent with my Lord, He guided me and reassured me regarding the events with our son. My spirit was at peace and I knew that everything would work out. I thanked the Lord and walked out to my very hot car, where I faced the reality that most of the groceries would probably have to be thrown out once I arrived home.

The Melt Down

It took at least another 10 minutes before I opened my garage door. With a sigh, my reaction was to first reach for the bag that contained the melted ice cream. I pulled the carton from the bag and my whole body began to tingle. Wait, what? I could not believe what my hands had felt. It wasn’t melted! It was not the least bit thawed. In fact, it was rock solid! It was more frozen than when I pulled it out of the store freezer. How could this be? I pulled more bags toward me and began frantically digging into the bags that contained meats, cheeses, milk and frozen vegetables. They were cold and frozen. No sign whatsoever of thawing or distress from the heat. I had shopped in hot weather before; I knew how quickly things melted in heat like this. Then, it hit me. I began to cry. Tears streamed down my face. I dropped to my knees right there on the garage floor and praised my God. “Thank you, Lord, I am such a fool!” I thought, “He loves me. He loves me so much. He took care of me. He took care of my groceries. How could I have been so worried about this or anything? Did I not know who I was talking to—the great I AM, the Creator of the Universe, the Good Shepherd! Of course, if He could keep me from perishing for all eternity, He could certainly keep my groceries from perishing in an hour. No doubt about it!”

I have reflected on this story many times over the years and realized there are still many lessons to learn from it. It was through trust and obedience to His voice that He confirmed the voice I heard was His. I needed to trust Him in order for Him to reveal Himself to me, and when He revealed Himself to me I trusted Him even more. The intricacies and intimacies of that circle of trusting and revelation continue to grow as my faith continues to grow. I have shared this story from time to time and occasionally I still get a raised eyebrow or two. However, by continuing to share my experience I am confident that others have similar stories. I pray it becomes the norm for Christians to comfortably share how God’s voice speaks to them in their lives. Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.” I want that! So, I am listening, Lord.

My God I acknowledge You as my true shepherd. Today I surrender myself, all my problems and anxieties, into your hands. Help me to trust You, o Lord, with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. When I am confused let me hear Your voice saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’

Amen.

Teresa Weider

© Teresa Ann Weider serves the Church remarkably through her active involvement in various ministries over the years. She lives with her family in Folsom, California, USA.

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