Until three years ago, I didn’t think God spoke today. In fact, I would have argued that there is no need for God to speak to anyone today because he’s given us the Bible. I urged people who wanted to hear from God to read the Scripture. And I would still give that advice. I love the Bible and have spent my adult life studying its words and listening for God’s voice within its pages.
I learned my love for Scripture from wise and well-educated men who loved God. These men also taught me a system of biblical interpretation that explained why God didn’t communicate with people today as he did in biblical times. Because of this I taught myself not to listen for God’s voice, except when reading the Bible. And so . . . I seldom heard from God apart from the Bible.
Of course, he was speaking all that time. But the sound of my preconceived thoughts drowned out the sound of his voice. Not completely, though.
The first time God ever spoke to me was through creation. I knew him from his handiwork just as I would know an artist from his paintings. I saw God’s power and size and creativity. I remember lying on a sleeping bag and counting falling stars in New Mexico. It was a special night because I’m sure I counted over fifty. To this day I can visualize that night and the dark moonless bowl overhead, filled with more lights than I could count. I knew then that I believed in God.
One night last year I was standing on the deck behind our home looking at the stars. It was a perfect spring night with clear, crisp air and the smell of pine needles and bark dust. I quickly spotted the Big Dipper and North Star. I pulled up my binoculars and could see the moons of Jupiter. Since Jupiter has 67 moons, I didn’t seem them all. But I could see several of them and it made the night sky seem three dimensional. In that moment God spoke to me. This time it wasn’t about his power or creativity but his love. I realized in that moment that every star in the sky, every tree on a hill, every sunrise and sunset were expressions of God’s love.
I’m not a pantheist who believes God is in all of nature. Rather, I believe all of nature is the handiwork of God. Visible proof of an amazing mind that could create the humming birds that buzz past me as they flash toward a feeder, and my dog that loves to play, and the flounders I’ve seen on the bottom of the sea—creatures that wear camouflage and within seconds look like the surface they land on. I could go on and on describing what I’ve seen on this planet and so could you.
Every creature. And plant. The oceans and seas. The mountains and plains and rivers and caves. The sky and stars and planets and moon. God speaks through them all to the listening ear.
But he speaks in another way that has changed my life. Next week, I’ll share why I think God speaks to us today as he did in biblical times.