When God speaks, it is never startling, seldom obvious. He comes to us in our circumstances, moving so subtly and mysteriously through our lives that we wonder, “Is that God’s voice?” Isaiah said that God spoke to him with a “strong hand”—the all-encompassing hand of circumstance, holding and guiding him (Isaiah 8:11). Nothing touches our lives that God isn’t speaking through.

What do we see in our own circumstances? The hand of God, or simply accidents? When we begin to understand that there are no accidents, that all is God, life begins to change. We begin to say, “Speak, Lord,” and to listen. We begin to realize that difficulty does more than discipline us; it brings us to the place where, attentive and hungry, we say, “Speak, Lord.” Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life becomes a romance.

Perhaps we’ve already heard the call, but we were afraid to answer, fearing that answering would hurt someone we love. God called to Samuel, and Samuel hesitated, wanting to protect Eli. But Eli knew that Samuel must obey; if he did not, he would turn himself into an amateur providence. As cruel as it may seem, we must not prevent the gouging out of the eye, the cutting off of the hand (Matthew 5:29–30). We too are circumstances God is using to speak to others.

Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord,” and make time to listen. As you listen, your ears grow sharp, until, like Jesus, you hear God all the time.

Wisdom from Oswald

The main characteristic which is the proof of the indwelling Spirit is an amazing tenderness in personal dealing, and a blazing truthfulness with regard to God’s Word. Disciples Indeed, 386 R