Please either listen to the five minute audio clip above or read the notes below or both at the same time!
Back in the day, when I first was saved, and computers had yet to be invented, I had a bible and two paper-back books. I would sit on the porch, with the sun setting down on the gentle hills of the Tarn et Garonne in southern France, and devour the wisdom diligently sewn into the pages of these masterpieces.
The first book was written by Colin Urquhart, a well-known English Christian writer, and was entitled ‘In Christ Jesus’. The book focussed on our identity in Christ and contained valuable lessons for me at that time and still does.
The second book was a French translation of Watchman Nee, the Chinese writer and church leader whose teaching was to leave a lasting impression upon me. I seem to remember that the book was entitled ‘La Vie Chretienne Normale’.
In this book, Watchman Nee described how he was sitting in his office one day when a young Christian turned up in a rather distraught manner and asked for help. Watchman invited him in, sat him down and asked him to share what was troubling him.
The young man explained that when he had been recently saved, it would seem that Jesus would speak to him so very clearly and in an almost audible voice. However, time had passed and now the young man could no longer hear the voice of the Lord so clearly.
Watchman assured the young man that he was still very much loved by the Lord and that this was a normal part of the maturing process of the saint.
Watchman used the example of the horse-rider and his steed. When a horse-rider begins to work with a new horse he, or she, has to use quite strong and overt signals so that the horse knows what to do. As the rider begins to form a relationship with the horse, then the signals become more gentle as the horse learns to anticipate the demands of the rider. An intuitive relationship forms where the rider and the horse become almost one and at this point, the rider only has to shift their body ever so gently and the horse will understand what is being asked of them.
In the same way, when we begin our journey with the Lord, then he often has to speak quite loudly to us that we might understand. In my case, no doubt, Jesus had to resort to megaphones and road-blocks and much flapping of arms and raising of eyebrows before I knew what was going on!
As our relationship matures, the Lord begins to relate with us with the softest of whispers, perhaps no more than the occasional sigh here or there, and we are able to understand intuitively what he is saying.
I often read of prophets and prophetesses who hear the Lord speaking to them in quite an impressive fashion.
One prophet I was listening to on YouTube, where else, was on a fourteen day fasting retreat in a log cabin up in the hills and he was woken by a galactic display of falling stars, with angels descending on ladders blowing trumpets and gold dust swirling in the blood-red-moon night-time sky.
I was very impressed, and rather intimidated, because the Lord never seems to speak to me in this way!
These days the Lord will speak to me in the most gentle of ways. I have learnt to listen quietly to the divine sighs. Not quite as dramatic perhaps as trumpet-blowing angels and gold dust but still so very precious.
And this is where the teachings of Colin Urquhart come in, the first of my two books, where I learnt of my identity in Christ and how I was not to seek someone else’s experience but to be confident of the love of my Saviour and his desire to guide me on his path.
Christ Jesus often speaks with a voice as quiet as a sigh and an embrace as gentle as a dove.
If we quieten ourselves down and listen then we will know his clear voice.