If God chose to speak to us using methods unmistakable, undeniable—a clearly audible voice or a conversation with an angel, perhaps—identifying his voice would be simple. Such encounters would be impossible to ignore, even for the distracted or dissenting among us. He employs methods like these, however, only but very rarely. Much more often, he uses methods any of us can mistake, or even deny—methods like his still, small voice and human agency.
Identifying his voice when it comes through these latter methods is—by intentional design—more difficult. Note the story of Elijah on Mount Horeb, when God uses his still, small voice (1 Kings 19:9-18). He makes it clear the nature of this voice is not dramatic, nor the volume loud; it’s a gentle whisper. Unobtrusive. It’s not forced upon Elijah, nor upon us. The same is true of human agency. When he speaks through family, friends, acquaintances, his voice is likewise easy to mistake, easy to deny. Such people talk with us every day and the few words that are inspired can get lost among the many that are not. Again, unobtrusive.
But, though unobtrusive, Elijah still heard God’s voice. And so can we. We can hear it—but we must listen determinedly; choosing Him; honestly and intently seeking Him. Otherwise it’ll fade into noise. Why? Why does God allow us to find Him when we seek Him earnestly and hide Himself from us when we do not? To do differently would be coercion, or close to it. And that’s not how He works.
Get rid of distraction. Drop the skepticism. Drop the defiance. God wants a TWO-WAY relationship with you. He is listening for your prayer and He wants you to listen for Him to speak to you. That’s an astounding offer that no one should refuse. Choose Him freely!