I love hearing the sound of waves on the shoreline of a beach. Whether the wind brings them crashing in, or calmer weather causes them to gently lap the sand, there is a consistency, a repetition to waves that fascinates me. I find myself listening for their rhythm and discernible pattern.
“Crash!” The waves impact the shore and are drawn back out to sea. “Crash!” The white foam of the waves crests, then diminishes as the sand absorbs the blow.
To me, the sound of waves is a ministry to my mind. I deal with tinnitus, which is a loud ringing in my ears. At its worst, tinnitus can bring on a panic attack. But it’s best managed when I am able to focus my brain on something other than the annoying ringing. Listening to waves helps me do that. Truly, their sound is a ministry to my soul and mind.
I think discerning God’s voice works this way for me, as well. Read on.
Discerning God’s Voice Like Waves
I was recently asked by a friend how I discern God’s voice. I shared that it’s like a wave; that a thought hits the shore of my mind. I’m aware of it, but it ebbs away as I move about my day. But sometimes the thought revisits the shore of my mind. It could be a scripture, or a person’s name, an idea, a situation, or a sin that I need to address. As the thought ebbs and revisits, I become aware of its consistent repetition. Sometimes the thought crashes; other times it’s a gentle, persistent lapping.
Praying, looking to God’s Word, listening for the Holy Spirit, and seeking wise counsel are part of discerning God’s voice. But when a thought keeps nudging me, experience has taught me that it’s often God trying to get my attention about something He wants me to do, either for myself or another person. Oh, I wish I could tell you that I always acknowledge and act on what I hear, but I don’t. Only God knows the blessings I have missed out on by ignoring His voice.
You might be asking, “How do you know that it’s God’s voice and not your own thoughts?”
First, by considering the thought. I compare it to what I know about God’s character, and whether it is contrary or in direct defiance to the truth of who God is and what He expects of His people. I then go to the Bible. And I pray. I ask God to confirm what I believe I hear Him telling me.
Would God ever tell me to get even? No! (Romans 12:19) Would God tell me to sin? No! (Matthew 5:48) If my thinking doesn’t align with God’s Word, I can be sure I need to reject it. We know who originates that kind of thinking, right? Satan. And we know what God tells us to do with the thoughts he suggests: reject them!
As God’s Word teaches us in Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” If our thoughts are not of God, we are called to confess any sin around our thoughts and walk in the forgiveness that Jesus Christ has secured for us.
We may never fully understand the mystery of God’s voice in our life, but we can listen for evidence of it. Today, consider your own persistent thoughts.
Is God trying to get your attention so that you take action? How is God prompting you to look to His Word for guidance, to pray, or to rely on the empowerment of His Spirit before you make a decision?
Be encouraged that God is speaking to you, in waves both crashing and lapping. He desires that all of His children hear His voice. But we have to listen, pay attention, and be willing to take action.