I was ordering a friend a book about Amy Carmichael on Christianbook and it recommended the book called Evidence Not Seen (affiliate link). It is about Darlene Deibler Rose who was an American missionary who survived four years in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. The book is about her faith during that time. This is my genre! I love to read biographies of Christians who have exhibited great faith! People like Corrie ten Boom, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, William Wilberforce, Amy Carmichael, Mother Teresa, Isaac Liu, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Elias Chacour, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, Katie Davis, etc. [At bottom are the affiliate links to books on these people.] But I had never heard of Darlene Deibler Rose. I read what the book was about and then began reading the five star reviews. I ordered the book and it is in my massive 'To Be Read' pile. (Can anyone else relate to that book pile?)
As I was reading the reviews I came across one that seemed weird.
Finally, I find myself feeling uncomfortable whenever Darlene talks of hearing God talk to her. Now I can understand how remembering certain scriptures at certain times would seem like God talking to you, and maybe He is. But I cannot make myself feel comfortable with people who think God is talking to them just because they can, "feel it."
First of all Darlene was a missionary so I assume she was well versed in Scripture. Second of all they had taken her Bible when they put her in the prisoner of war camp. Because she didn't have a Bible to read, was God supposed to stop speaking to her for four years? I suppose I find this review weird because God speaks to me. And I thought He spoke to all believers. Then I remembered within the past couple years I'd read people condemning Beth Moore because of all the times she talks about God speaking to her.
I searched the internet and read several articles/ blogs which were critical of Beth Moore for saying something like, "I heard the voice of God speak to my heart." Ha! It sounds exactly like something I would say.
One woman wrote, They are either deceived, deluded, or lying, but they are not hearing directly from God. And then, The years upon years of Christian teachers and other leading women normalizing direct revelation has had untold and devastating effects on the faith.
What? Honestly these kind of statements puzzle me.
I teach a class called Connecting the Dots of the Bible and we spend the first two weeks on why Christians say the Bible is God's word. One of the first things I teach the students is on revelation. God is a personal God. We know He exists and who He is because He wants us to know Him. He has revealed Himself to us. This is called "revelation" and this simply means God's self-disclosure. Here is an excerpt from How Do We Know God Exists? that I wrote.
General Revelation discloses to all people His existence, His power and His moral attributes. He discloses this to us through creation and moral nature. General Revelation is not saving revelation. Special Revelation is God revealing His character, His will, and His acts to His people. Special Revelation is saving revelation. God speaks by the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways to His people: Through the Bible Through prayer Through circumstances Through the church and believers
We establish God wants us to know Him and He does this by revealing Himself to us. And how does God speak to us? Through the Bible and by the Holy Spirit which dwells in believers. This is a basic tenant of the Christian faith.
When my husband and I got married almost 38 years ago, the minister that married us gave us this little plaque. It has been hanging in our home ever since. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths. (Proverbs 3:6) How is God supposed to direct your paths if He doesn't speak to you?
Maybe the issue is what we envision when we say God "speaks." The number one way God is going to speak into your life is with His word, the Bible. But God can choose to direct your paths any way He wants to. Is this "speaking" some loud audible voice or some quiet whisper? Neither for me. It is a prompting, a bringing to memory of a particular Scripture, a conviction, a thought in my mind and heart,... The best example I have of this is I was going through a personal thing. I was in my car and I was sobbing and praying about it. I was actually very distraught. I was going on and on telling God how I couldn't take this any more and I was praying 'God, please tell me, please reveal to me if...' (It is too personal to tell you exactly what I was asking of God.) And suddenly God said to me in my mind "You are praying the wrong thing." This literally brought me up short and I stopped crying and ranting and was like 'What do you mean? What should I be praying for?' And God very clearly told me what I should pray for. And He was right. Of course He was correct! He is God. (Again, I can't tell you what He said I should be praying for because it is very personal. But it was biblical about forgiving this person and restoring the relationship.) I am telling you I know God spoke to me in a real and tangible way! And it has happened many times.
Any time you are convicted of a sin, God is speaking to you.
Any time you are suffering and a comforting verse comes to your mind, God is speaking to you.
Any time what you are learning is reinforced by a sermon or a song on the radio or an encounter, God is speaking to you.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us. Have you not ever wondered the purpose of that? Let me tell you about Him. Jesus sent His Helper to us. The Spirit will convict us. He will guide us into all the truth. He will glorify God. He will disclose the things of God to us. The Spirit gives us assurance of salvation. The Spirit gives us spiritual gifts. He is our Counselor.
The Spirit has to speak to us to do these things!
Am I having a word from God every day or even every week? No. It's directly related to how immersed I am in Scripture. I have dry periods. During this pandemic there isn't much revelation going on in my life. I'm not studying Scripture like I usually do. I'm watching church online which just isn't the same thing. My women's Bible study group was meeting by Zoom and that just wasn't the same thing. So yes, right now, it is kind of dry for me. God speaks to me more when I am closely connected to Him - reading His word, meeting with other Christians, praying regularly.
Here's another thing I believe. I believe that Satan is speaking to us at times too. I wrote about that in Hearing Two Voices. Anything we "hear" that conflicts with Scripture is not from God. In other words, Scripture is our measuring stick. My friend said she would question anyone saying they hear from God who is not immersed in reading Scripture on a regular basis. And she'd question whether they hear from God if they aren't exhibiting any fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Beth Moore and others do not deserve those kind of hyper-critical comments made about them if they say God has spoken to them. Any woman who has done a Beth Moore study will tell you they learned an incredible amount from doing it. We joke about Beth Moore's Bible studies making us do Bible gymnastics. She is a solid Bible teacher that has her students immersed in Scripture. Women will tell you God spoke to them through doing that Bible study!
I'd wonder about a Christian who says God does not speak to them. If God isn't speaking into their lives and transforming them, then what kind of relationship do they have with Him?
Yes, God speaks to us.
Lest you think I am making this up, let me leave you with the words of our Lord in John 16:13-15.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you.
The real question isn't if God speaks to us.
The real question is are we listening to Him?
Some excellent reads about Christians with great faith. Below are affiliate links to Christianbook. This means Passion to Know More gets a small percentage of anything purchased through these affiliate links. I use this to help subsidize the cost of this website. Thank you for supporting Passion to Know More through your purchases! Although Christianbook charges shipping, their products are at a greatly reduced price and usually the cost of shipping is offset by the great deals! It depends what you are ordering and how much you are ordering. So check out Christianbook!
Evidence Not Seen about Darlene Deibler Rose
Through Gates of Splendor about Jim and Elisabeth Elliot
Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper
Mother Teresa - Faith in the Darkness by Greg Watts (Christianbook does not carry this particular book, but they have many books on Mother Teresa.)
Son of the Underground by Isaac Liu (Christianbook does not carry this book)
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Blood Brothers about Elias Chacour
Captive in Iran about Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh
Kisses from Katie about Katie Davis