"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

If I'm honest, reading the Old Testament can be laborious and a little disheartening as a Christian in today's world. Yes, I know the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, but they also got to hear the tangible, audible voice of God, regularly. They got to watch the prophecy be fulfilled and oceans part. It can be hard to discern if the Lord still speaks that way. Let me cut to the chase: He does. It can be hard to hear His voice in today's busy world. It's easy to miss divinely appointed words the Creator is uttering specifically to you and for you - either in a still small whisper, in a thundering shout, or through the words of a close confidant.

Babies can pick out the sound of their mother's voices in a crowded room of women speaking at once, and will navigate their way through the crowd just to reach the sound. Similarly, sheep know the sound of their shepherds, and will only follow the commands he speaks. Even our cell phones, nowadays, have an optional security measure to recognize only the user's voice.

I am always reminded of a day that I heard the Lord speak so clearly. I was at the beach sitting in the surf praying and interceding for others on my mom's list when I heard, "What do you want? What do you want in a husband?" Undoubtedly, those questions were being asked by God.

Sheep watercolor painting

At the time, I had only been on ten dates with my then future husband. Several months before, I had fallen to my knees asking the Lord to forgive me for taking charge of my life doing things my way, and I surrendered to His will for my life. I so desperately wanted to be married and have children. I was approaching thirty and time was ticking. How refreshing to hear Him asking me to tell Him my heart's desires! And when I paused to hear from Him and reply to Him, He heard me, and answered with a proposal soon after, and my full house of four children.

If we strip away all of the white noise and static clogging our ears and keeping us confused about the source of the messages we hear, we can get back to the basics, just like a newborn or a sheep. I believe that the voice of God has been imprinted deeply into our hearts from our first breath. He created that heart to beat and those lungs to breathe, after all. His voice isn't unfamiliar - it's in our very DNA - it just gets muddled by constantly checking my phone, by not setting aside quiet time, or by a hectic schedule. But when we pause and seek out His voice wholeheartedly, we will hear it.

My encouragement for you today is to take time to pause and filter out the noise that may be drowning out His voice. What things are "muddling" that whisper for you?

Sunflower watercolor painting
Anne Neilson smiling

The Author: Anne Neilson

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