Of course it can be difficult to hear the silent voice.
God trying to listen to you like this -- trying to hear your voice on every single little subject… it can actually get a bit weird. I could end up seeming fanatical, a little crazy. Wouldn’t it be safer just to rely on my own common sense? Even just now and then?
Not at all. A life in conversation with me is what I want. It’s how the bible characters lived their lives.
But wouldn’t it be a lot less weird to rely on my own common sense God?
If I’m talking it makes sense to listen and talk back Mark.
But really God?? Is it reeeaally you? Sometimes it’s very difficult to tell.
It’s really me Mark. And of course it can be difficult to tell. You’re listening to the silent voice!
Okay true – and yet somehow most of the time I can tell this is you God. My mind can be ‘no way’, but at the same time my gut is ‘that’s God’.
But some others find it almost impossible to hear you speak sentence after sentence. Why is that?
Simple Mark. Practise. You can tell it’s me because you practise it almost every day. Desperation drove you to do that and now it’s a habit. You’re addicted to hearing me speak. Listening to the silent voice takes practise – all day every day – it’s like any of the great disciplines central to a normal life. Walking, speaking, feeding yourself – all of them take huge effort for humans until you get them right, and then it’s natural. Listening to the silent voice is the greatest of all the disciplines required to live life well. Life is pointless without it. And yet it’s the one that most of you never learn.
Practise is the only way to learn. Hard concentrated effort. And then as you have found, most of the time you can sense the words I’m saying. You can’t quite believe it’s me and yet at the same time you’re pretty sure you’re hearing me speak actual sentences, clearly enough to write them down.
When I come to a person unexpectedly it’s easy for them to feel my presence. The feeling is strong because I come unannounced. But it’s a completely different story when you try to negotiate life listening to the silent voice. You begin to focus your whole effort on actually hearing me, on uncovering my voice, dragging my voice out of the atmosphere and pinning it down so you can hear what I’m saying. Your mind is totally focused on the search – you ask and ask and ask again, testing and listening so the feeling of my presence when it comes isn’t quite as intense. That make it tough sometimes no matter how much you’ve practised.
Simple dynamics of the human mind. You’re so focused on the search for my voice that when you finally hear it you can miss it for a moment. It can take you by surprise. All your effort is focused and then suddenly you find yourself smack bang in the middle of a conversation with the Creator. It takes a moment to realise that it’s really happening. You can’t quite believe it. It’s never quite what you expect because how can you know what to expect. And of course there’s someone who always does his best to make sure you don’t believe it.
The mental, emotional and spiritual effort of hearing my voice, constantly probing to hear the silent voice, means that all of your senses are engaged in the search to hear what I’m saying at any given moment. As a result you’re not nearly as ‘hyper-sensitive’ to the feeling of the presence of God. You’re way past hunting for that feeling. It’s no longer enough – now you want to know what I’m actually saying – all day long in your own language. It’s hard work. You know that. You used to get headaches concentrating on it in the early days.
I wish you hadn’t mentioned that God!
Because some Christians have this crazy notion that if there’s any anguish or difficulty it can’t be your voice. There’s this mental notion that the ‘rest’ of God or the ‘peace’ of God means everything from you must be relaxed, easy, never any fuss.
Mark the bible is filled with people in anguish in their efforts to understand what I am saying. When trying to listen to my Father talking about the crucifixion the anxiety was so intense I sweat blood. Where’s the peace in that?
In a conversation with God you are sensing me constantly, but you don’t have the time to luxuriate in how nice it feels. This isn’t supposed to be a wonderful Christian experience, it’s supposed to be life - hearing the silent voice in order to know how to negotiate your life. To make that a liveable reality you have to put all your effort into discerning whether it’s me and actually understanding what specific words I’m saying -- and what you want to ask or say in response. A conversation with me can often consume you mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It takes all your faculties. It drives and fulfils you but you’re not always able to just sit and feel the overwhelming sense of me.
Is that good or bad?
It’s part of the process. You’re a human in conversation with the Creator – you’re a physical and audible being trying to converse with a spiritual and silent God. A conversation between human and God is a collision of opposites. But it’s a beautiful collision because actually we’re not very dissimilar after all. We are opposite in so much as you’re visible and audible and I’m invisible and silent. But we’re very similar in our outlooks. Nonetheless it can take immense effort trying to negotiate life in conversation with the silent voice. Immense levels of concentration and focus are required. And of course there’s constant opposition, mostly from other Christians and the enemy.
So it can take you by surprise when the enemy interrupts and asks if God really said something. That’s just part of being human too. It’s no different when you’re having a discussion with a friend and someone interrupts with some irrelevant comment, their interruption can throw you completely off-balance.
That’s how the enemy works, he interrupts you when we are speaking. To throw you even further off balance he pretends his voice is actually your own thoughts. He says in a voice that sounds like your own mind, “that can’t really be God.”
Honestly God? Is that really you? I can’t afford to hear you wrong on this.
Mark of course it’s me. You know that. But it’s ok to ask. You need to test the spirits. You need to ask and ask and then ask again. Often. There’s no other option. The enemy’s constant interjections require it. A conversation with me is like two parents trying to talk when their child is screaming for attention. To make it worse you are surrounded by dark children screaming at you, hoards of invisible bullies jostling and shouting to distract you.
God really? I thought as we got better, closer, it would get easier?
Mark Adam and Eve walked and talked with me in the garden. Innocent. Sinless. Perfect. And yet in the middle of all that the enemy was allowed to interrupt, “Has God really said?” It even happened in the garden so you can count on it happening to you.
When we’re conversing you have to remain sure it’s me. And the only way to do that is to ask and to sense the answer with your spirit. Again and again if need be. And when you’re unsure you need to test what you’ve heard, word by word if necessary, and sometimes it will be necessary. Sometimes you’ll ask me a question, a thought will come into your mind and you’ll find you have to test the whole thought, word by word to see if it’s me. Sometimes it’s easier – it depends on the level of ambush he’s focusing on you. Often you’ll need to test to make sure all of what you heard was me, or whether some of it was me and some of it was his interruption.
Are you up for this Mark?
I guess. I mean there’s not much choice is there God? If you’re prepared to talk, I mean talk like a friend, no matter what I’m like, then it would be dumb not to join the conversation. It’s often a pain, but yes I’m up for it. It sounds too hard and I’d sure prefer it was easier, but what choice is there? I want to hear you God, but that sounds so spiritual, and it’s definitely not for nice spiritual Christian-sounding reasons.
I’m not interested it’s just a nice turbo-charge to a nice Christian walk. I don’t have a nice Christian walk God and I don’t want one either. ‘Nice’ Christian walks are so irrelevant to the real world. Boring and pointless! I want a real life, not pretending and religious. I want to make a difference. Not a ‘Christian’ difference, but a God difference, one that’s relevant to every day human beings. I want to be relevant to the world, and now that I know that you can talk clearly, I want you involved too, but only for real reasons. No ‘nice’ religious reasons please.
Mark that feeling of weariness that comes when you think about living life in conversation with me – that feeling is NOT some burden given to you by me. It is NOT your cross to bear. That’s all religious nonsense. It’s the lie of your enemy giving you reasons not to bother. Ignore him. A conversation with God is a positive thing. He wants you to feel weary about it. I want you to feel good about it. If you do you’ll be more likely to do it. Anticipate the benefit, don’t focus on the pain. You Christians need to take a leaf out of the normal man’s book. They understand this better than you. ‘No Pain, No Gain’ is a slogan that should be applied to the conversation with me. A conversation with me takes effort.
A conversation with me is like any sort of exercise. There is pain involved but a much greater benefit. Get involved Mark.
The Freedom Diaries will stretch you. It describes Mark’s real life struggle with Doubt as he discovered that he could hear God’s voice every day.Dr Mark Virkler. Author of 4 Keys to hearing God’s Voice. Buffalo. New York.
Like a child on Christmas morning, I was delighted to discover how simple yet wonderful it is to place my hand into the hand of God and listen to his whispers and enjoy his affection. I could only ask why no one had ever told me he was this good and this close. I wish I had read this book a long, long time ago. Daniel Walker. Founder and Executive Director of Nvader. Author of God in a brothel.
This is new and exciting. It’s not the idea of hearing from God that’s new, it’s having conversations back and forth, question and answers. That’s new for most of us. Now I am enjoying my own conversations with God, which always leave me with hope. David Garratt of Scripture in Song. Hawaii.
You can purchase your own copy of Mark Holloway's book, 'The Freedom Diaries - God Speaks Back' on this website.
IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE THINKING IT'S YOUR OWN IMAGINATION WHEN YOU TRY TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH GOD - read the 'Practical Tips' section. How to have your own conversation with God in The Freedom Diaries