DISCERNING THE VOICE OF GOD


Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47 ESV


In the biographical drama film called ‘The Two Popes’ Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is summoned to the Vatican by Pope Benedict. During a heartfelt conversation between the two men, Pope Benedict tells Cardinal Bergoglio that he wants to resign as the Pope and wants Bergoglio to replace him. One of the reasons for his decision to resign is that he does not hear the voice of God anymore.


At one point or another, every Christian experience what I called divine silence, which is a season when we struggle to hear the voice of God. For those in the vocation of pastoral ministry, the experience of divine silence can be very frustrating. It is difficult to preach or teach, serve, or minister when one cannot discern the voice of God. Our effectiveness becomes suspect when we struggle to discern the voice of God. Then we become more susceptible to the voice of the enemy who is trying to lead us astray.


Divine silence does not mean that God has forsaken us. God often speaks in his silence. When we struggle to discern the voice of God, it is a sign for us to declutter our lives, eliminate distractions, and refocus our spirit on God. Divine silence is one of the ways the Almighty is trying to get our attention.


At times, we can be so busy in the work of ministry that we do not have time for God. As the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict was one of the busiest people in the world. He was so busy flying all over the world and handling the affairs of the church, he did not have time for God. He could not hear what God wanted him to do as the leader of the largest Christian denomination in the world. Thus, he was relying more and more on his intellect and personal abilities.


Benedict resigned as Pope because his relationship with God was more important than his ministry as Pope. God may be calling you to give up something important so you can prioritize your relationship with him. The divine silence you may be experiencing is God’s way of telling you to slow down and return to him.


Amid all that is going on with the pandemic, and the socio-political climate in this country, many people are getting sidetracked and distracted. Many parents are preoccupied with the virtual school for their children while trying to work their day job. Some of these parents are worn out and mentally stressed. They are struggling to discern the voice of God and feel a sense of spiritual emptiness that only God can fill.


Do not feel guilty or ashamed if you cannot discern the voice of God. Perhaps you may need to turn off the television and set aside an hour or so for meditation and prayer. Rest assured that God is communicating with you. Amid the ever-growing dismay in the world, God is talking louder than ever.


God’s silence may be an invitation for you to return to God. The Holy Spirit may just be convicting us to be more intentional about seeking fellowship with the Almighty. Divine silence is a warning light telling us that our spiritual engine needs a tune-up. The more we ignore it, the worst our spiritual engine will get and the more ominous our experience of divine silence will get.


Prayer- Blessed Lord, please declutter our spiritual ears so we can hear your voice and remain in constant fellowship with thee.

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