Hearing and recognizing God's voice is one of the most confusing, challenging, and central parts of life. Arguably, all people try to find and understand God's voice speaking to them at some point in life. Even for the most spiritually devout, God's voice is not always clear.
Dallas Willard wrote and recently re-released Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God to address the complexity of connecting with God. He starts the book by addressing the many misconceptions about hearing God. But he doesn't stop there--he spends a significant majority of the book exploring the various, powerful, yet subtle ways God speaks us on a daily basis.
What I love about this book is that Willard really emphasizes that there is no formula for connecting with and hearing God. Willard very clearly notes that God can use whatever means he would like to speak to us, but that there are particularly tendencies in how he sends us messages, which are often some form of what I would call Incarnational.
I'm fairly familiar with Willard's work and the topic of hearing God, so there was not much new here that I had not heard before. However, it was validating, reminding me of how I am connected to God. This was particularly meaningful, as during the two weeks I listened to this book on my commute to and from work, we were matched with a birth mom for an adoption, which then fell through.
During the emotional roller coaster, I questioned my recognition of God's voice to us about the match (and even adoption in general, at times). When we were first offered the opportunity to talk to this mom, I had this clear sense of peace (which is unusual for me, who is usually anxious), with a message that it would all work out fine. As the adoption fell through, I questioned if I had really heard from God. Quickly after that thought, I experienced a response that I was not "told" that this particular match would work out, but that all would be fine and we would handle it.
That did not make the process easier, per se, but it did give me a peace about the process. And as I mentioned before, that's not my normal state, making it fit being a message from God all the more. Plus, the characteristics of God's voice, as Willard says, includes stillness, peace, and calm.
I pray we all continue to recognize God and his voice in all we do, both in providing peace and passion for life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”