I can’t help but think that the people in the Old Testament had it easy when it came to hearing from God. At least then, God would speak directly and audibly through the prophets. Hebrews 1:1 confirms it;
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,”
But today, at least for me, it seems not so easy to know God’s will on the non-moral choices in life. It is not so straightforward. Of course there are those who claim to have heard God speak to them audibly. I don’t mean through someone else’s words or a message on radio or television, I mean an actual voice from nowhere. I have never had such an experience. When [most] Christians today speak about hearing from God, apart from the Bible, they are mainly referring to “impressions” on their hearts and minds, “thoughts and ideas”, hindsight and maybe the words of another human being.
The next time someone tells you “God told me…” or “God led me to…”, do not always assume God spoke to them audibly as He did to Elijah. Prod that statement. Seek clarification before condemning it with Bible passages suggesting cessationism. More often than not, you will realize that God speaking is not the same as Mike speaking. But God does indeed speak to us today, apart from His word. While most of the messages we get from God cannot be ascertained perfectly at the moment of our hearing, we do acknowledge that they were from God in hindsight.
At least Benjamin Wambugu does. He recalls how he thought God was leading Him into pastoral ministry by providing for Him through His undergraduate theological education. Everyone thought he was going to be a pastor. “Through His servants, [God] spoke to me clearly, that He needed me to go to Bible school,” says Benjamin.
But his life seemed to be taking a different path when he ended up as a management trainee at Pan Africa Christian University, then as an assistant registrar (admissions and recruitment), then a Post-Graduate Studies Co-ordinator. But despite the clear trajectory towards a corporate career, Benjamin’s heart was elsewhere. Along the way, a friend invited him to his (the friend’s) church, to help out with a concert. A series of fortunate events led to Benjamin becoming a member of this church. Benjamin Wambugu is currently serving Mamlaka Hill Chapel as a pastor. Who would have seen this coming? God did.
Roseanne Kinyua’s story may sound different, but the similarities to Wambugu’s story are uncanny. In her checklist of “Mr. Right”, a pastor did not even feature in the runners-up. “It was never in my radar”, she confesses. Roseanne did not always consider, let alone plan, to be a pastor’s wife. But when she met and befriended a handsome man who had a passion for God, she had to deal with and accept the reality of being a pastor’s wife.
“I noticed that he was a shepherd,” says Roseanne. “He was always checking up on people. He was always offering to pray for us… So I asked the Lord to clarify what this was.” She faced the reality that the man she was in love with was a pastor, and that she was going to be his helper. A pastor’s wife. She was going to be what she has been for more than a year now, Roseanne Kinyua Wambugu.
These are just a few of the many stories shared this Sunday morning about how God leads us through great transitions in life. Of course, God’s leading regarding our moral choices is clearly spelled out in His Word. We do not need extra-biblical voices to discern God’s will over right and wrong. But when it comes to choosing between right and left, God speaks to us in amazing and often unexpected ways.
You may call them coincidences, but I call them core-incidences. My Calvinist friends like to use the word providence or God’s sovereign (and hidden) will. Whatever you may call it, it is ultimately God leading us. Sometimes the choices we may have to make (in fact, more often than not) may be hard. Sometimes God leads us out of our comfort zones and into war-zones to serve Him. “When God calls you, it will often cost you,” says Pastor Charles. But we have a great promise tied to our obedience in all of these “God-led” choices in life: “Behold, I am with you always.”
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” [Acts 17:26-28a]
For the fame of His name,