Science lovers may like this post.
This week I have heard from several people about how my book, Snatchproof, the Art of Hearing God’s Voice has made a difference in their lives. Actually, hearing these stories makes me feel really good because writing a book of this nature is intensely personal. Especially to an introvert. I may not seem like it, but all the tests say I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies. A lot of my stories were very personal, so I have had some fear of rejection or misunderstandings, but so far everything I’ve heard has been good. I wanted to share one of the stories that came in just this week.
One lady sat me down yesterday and told me this story:
“A few weeks ago I got your book when I was going through a difficult time. I felt like God led me to your book because it really encouraged me. My brother was staying with us and he is a recovering alcoholic. He disappeared for a week and we didn’t know where he was. Fear was overtaking me. Thoughts of finding him under a bridge or even dead continually bombarded me. As I read your book I realized that all of those thoughts were fear based and were not of God. I didn’t have to listen to those and dwell on those. I had read the section of your book that talked about God speaking to us through patterns in our day and I would never have looked for Him to speak this way, but He did. I walked into my backyard and our Aspen tree had just bloomed with green leaves all over it. As I looked at the bright green leaves a white leaf floated down right in front of me. I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “Peace”. I continued to walk in my yard to a bench and I sat down. A white butterfly landed on my knee. I heard the Holy Spirit say, “your brother is OK, be at peace.” And then a little later, I saw another white thing and thought… “peace…it is well.” Even a few days later when we found out that my brother was fine, I never felt as much peace as I did in those moments of seeing the white objects. I knew in my heart that my brother was OK.”
When God speaks to us through our circumstances, it’s hard to believe He is doing it. We aren’t trained to look for Him to speak this way but I find that He often does. This is a really neat way to experience His voice if you are open to it. There is a chapter in my book that talks about God speaking through Patterns and I’m going to put this one section here for you to have a sneak peek. I’m hoping it will open your mind to hearing God because He is indeed speaking. This is just one of the ways:
He Speaks Through Circumstances, Serendipitous Moments, and Recognizable Patterns.
If you’re scientific-minded, this method of hearing God may be easier for you to understand than others. This method has actually been given a name by scientists. It’s called Design Inference and is used to recognize intelligent patterns in nature where there shouldn’t be any.
The idea of Design Inference, in layman’s terms, is that we can distinguish between events that are caused by intelligence and undirected natural causes. Design Inference reveals intelligent causes (i.e. God) by recognizing specified events of small probability. Just about anything that happens is highly improbable, but when a highly improbable event is also specified (conforms to a pattern), undirected natural causes lose their explanatory power. In other words, we can see God work when He uses something ordinary in our lives and creates an unordinary pattern out of it.
An example is Mount Rushmore. You can look at any of the hills of South Dakota and see weathered patterns carved into the rock, but when you look at Mount Rushmore, you see designs that match a recognizable pattern. You recognize the faces of the four famous presidents and know those faces are there by design, not by chance. When we look at Mount Rushmore, we see an indication of intelligence that is not put there by the wind, rain, and elements. The sculpture of the recognizable faces indicates intelligence.
I’d like to apply this same Design Inference to the idea of hearing from God. When things start jumping out at you in your life and you start to recognize a pattern in what would normally be random life happenings, it is an indication that God wants you to notice something is different. It’s then that you ask yourself, “What is God trying to speak to me about?”
Which reminds me of a very personal experience I had with God involving owls. I may risk sounding a little crazy by telling you this, but it’s a perfect example of how the Lord can speak through patterns.
First of all, before this owl day, I had never noticed owls. Other than Winnie the Pooh or Snow White in a scary forest, who does? They seem smart, usually show up at night, and their call sounds like they only want to know who’s there. But in my day-to-day life, I just don’t encounter them very often.
It all started when my son came home from school and handed me a sculpted owl.
“Did you make this at school, honey?”
“Yep,” he said, all smiles.
“Thank you so much! You did an awesome job.” I put it on my desk, proudly displaying his artwork.
That afternoon, as I was trying to help my younger son find his favorite cartoon, I saw a trailer for “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”
No big deal and kind of random, but my brain made a connection. I didn’t think much of it.
Then, as I was going through my daily email, I came across a greeting card from a friend. This, too, had an owl as part of the image. All three occurrences were random and I still wasn’t thinking that God was speaking to me but my brain did pick up on the pattern of owls showing up in my day.
But all of this was nothing compared to what happened later that night. As I turned out the lights and got into bed, I heard a strange sound coming from outside my window. As my brain processed this sound and realized what it was, I did a double take and looked to the window to see an owl, sitting on my roof right under my window, staring and hooting at me like he’s trying to get me a message.
Here was an undeniable pattern with a dramatic ending. God wanted to tell me something.
Even though I can’t prove anything except circumstantial evidence, I am aware that something was different and it concerned owls. This may sound crazy to someone who has never experienced God speaking this way, but it is this pattern that caused me to take notice.
In this situation I called my brother who I like to talk with about these kinds of things. My brother was a pastor for over 20 years and is very sensitive to hearing the Lord speak to him.
He said, “That’s neat that you’re seeing owls. Lots of people I know who walk in the prophetic are seeing owls lately. As a matter of fact, I was just at a conference where there was a big discussion on it and what it means. There is talk that God is speaking to us about owls because owls are called the eagle of the night. Owls can see clearly in the dark and America seems to be plunging into darkness right now. If you are seeing owls, you can see in the darkness and you can demolish your prey with no trouble. As a matter of fact, the owl’s favorite meal is serpent.”
I love the idea of destroying the work of the enemy! I had been praying about some things and asking God about writing this book with the purpose of helping people see in the dark by learning to hear His voice. His answer was so distinctively Him, full of creativity and it had a wow factor that helped me know it really was from Him. It was a confirmation to me that I should go ahead and write this book!
Because I know God speaks this way, I’ve learned to sit up and take notice whenever a pattern emerges where there shouldn’t be one. When this type of thing happens to you, ask Him to reveal the message or whatever He is trying to speak to you about. Usually within a day or two, I have my answer, and I’ve learned something amazing from God. Again I am reminded about how involved He is in the details of my life and how magnificent He is.
Here is a hypothetical example of how God may speak to you in this way. Maybe you are wondering If you should find a new job. You ask God for wisdom and direction and to help you know if you should change your vocation. Then over the course of the next week the following things start to happen:
Every time you turn on the radio you hear a commercial for an online job search service. Then, a friend asks you out of the blue if you are going to be staying with your current job or not. You hear a song on the radio that has the line in it, “Get a job.” Your mother calls and asks if you’ve ever considered another vocation. Your boss lets you know that over the next year they will be downsizing.
All of these things on their own mean little, but when they start accumulating, you start to take notice. Now sometimes these things could be coincidences, but if you are aware of the pattern developing, He might be getting your attention. It might be time to pray about it and ask Him to reveal what He’s showing you, if He’s showing you something.
My dear friend Cha (pronounced “Shay”), who was a chaplain friend of mine in college, wrote to me about how she hears God through these patterns of life and she calls them “serendipitous moments.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how I hear God and if I hear Him at all. What I know is that I have experiences daily that I need to talk to God about and want to hear what to do, or what next step to take. I have yet to hear an audible voice tell me what street to stroll down, corner to turn or path to take. But strange things happen as I take the next step that seems before me; serendipitous things start to occur.
“I see the billboard, while driving home from work that leads me to that very thing I have been praying about. Or, I meet that person that introduces me to a supplement that addresses a health issue I’ve been putting before God for some time.
In the ether of life, as I walk, pray and talk with God . . . as I try to be everything He dreamt and everything He wants me to be, I see Him unfolding His voice in the motion of my days. You see, with great finesse God speaks to me in the magical movement of life. I used to get mad that I didn’t hear Him. I used to pray and try to invoke the God of the Old Testament that speaks to people in a voice of thunder on mountain tops. I use to do all of this until I realized that I SAW His voice. My life mirrors conversations I have with God. He makes my life look like what we chat about all the time. . . yes indeed, the serendipitous voice of God. “
Wendy Selvig is the worship leader for Women Belong, the women’s ministry at St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO. She also has a degree in Music Ministry from Manhattan Christian College and a degree in Music Composition and Technology from Oral Roberts University. Her book Snatchproof, the Art of Hearing God’s Voice came from a 20+ year journey of learning to hear God’s voice. To order your copy, VISIT THIS PAGE.