This is Page 3 of our series: What If . . .
“I can’t hear God talk to me! He might talk to you, but not to me!” announced 7-year-old Ali when she was at my house recently. Her frustration was real and her words seemingly out of the blue.
I reminded her of times she’s heard God when we pray at bedtime. “I just make that up because I want to hear Him,” she said. So I asked if she’d like to learn more about God’s voice.
We went up to my loft and I read her a little bit about hearing God from a book for children. I explained how we hear God’s voice through the Bible, but also through thoughts that comes into our mind. Then I asked if she wanted to practice. We looked at the trees out the window, and I prayed, “God, if Ali was one of the trees outside, which one would she be?” I waited a few seconds and asked if she heard anything. With bright eyes, she said, “A palm tree!” There weren’t any of those nearby, but I went with it!
I asked if she knew why He said a palm tree, and she replied, “I don’t even know what they look like.” I described the tree and told her some palm trees grow food for people, like coconuts or dates. She said, “That’s it! I want to give food to the homeless, but no one will help me!” And she started weeping. She’d talked about helping the homeless before, and I knew this was something planted deep in her heart. I told her I would help her figure out how to do that. Then I shared that palm trees provide shade for people in really hot areas—like God giving people what they need because He is compassionate. Ali said she really cares about people, too. Then she ran off to play.
The next week, Ali, her brother, my husband, and I made sack lunches for a homeless shelter in Yakima. We went to the camp and gave them to people at lunchtime. Knowing many of the residents had dogs, we brought dog biscuits, too, and Ali passed those out. She radiated joy, and wanted a tour of camp.
One of the staff women learned we were there because Ali wanted to feed the homeless. She leaned down to Ali’s level and asked what made her want to bring lunches to people. Ali looked her in the eyes and said matter-of-factly, “God told me I’m like a palm tree.”
The woman looked confused, so I prompted Ali to tell the rest of the story. But I think for her, it would have been enough to stop there. She knew God valued who she is and loved her compassionate heart. She had put her faith in action.
It was a reminder to me that a word from God changes things. We were created to hear from Him! What if we’d known this as a child? What if we believed today and everyday that God is speaking to us? What if we didn’t discount the thoughts of possibility and promise that pop into our minds, but talked them over with God in prayer? Would it change how we live?
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
—Galatians 5:25 (TPT)
Try it out . . .
Pray: Lord, thank you that I was created to hear Your voice. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for living in me and for enabling me to know God’s heart and ways. I want to keep in step with You. I want to remember to ask for Your perspective and love for every situation in my life.
Lord, how would things be different if I remembered to do this?
Is there one thing You would like to talk with me about right now?
(Take time to respond to God, to ask Him questions, or to thank Him. Then, if you’d like to practice hearing His voice, try a listening prayer exercise about trees. Maybe you’re a palm tree, too!)