It can be very confusing how one is supposed to relate to an invisible God. Frustrations can lead to simply giving up having a meaningful relationship with one’s Creator. I understand some claim God has spoken to them directly but this is not the experience of the majority of those who are seeking a relationship with their Creator. Many may prefer that God would speak more directly but this doesn’t always leads to the results we may think.
The Bible suggests that God with the first couple spoke more directly in the garden than as history progressed. Moses described receiving the Commandments on stone inscribed by the finger of God (Ex. 31:18). We don’t know exactly what types of communication these were but most would agree that God is no longer communicating in the same way. Least you think direct ways by God led to inspired living, you may want to reread the Old Testament. Besides, God wants us to come to God on our own terms and not because of feeling overwhelmed or obligated.
Since God doesn’t speak audibly or write in the sand, how can we know that we hear the voice of God? Many of us talk out loud to God or silently and then thoughts come to mind. Are such thoughts from the mind of God? I got some good news and bad news. We can’t know if certain thoughts are inspired by God, but the good news is God’s love is supportive not controlling. God gives us freedom to make decisions in an open future. Any number of decisions can be made in our situation as a predetermined future suggests one is not truly free to do anything different.
God mainly listens which is what most of us want in a relationship. Very few of us want to be told what to do, or we would always take the advice of others rather than frequently having a comeback as to why one’s suggestion won’t work. Opinions are not always helpful or welcomed. Besides, one’s interference can prevent growth and self-satisfaction resulting from making independent choices. We want to be heard by another soul to talk out situations and share burdens that are heavy to carry alone.
If can be comforting to know God is always available to listen. We may be embarrassed to share our latest relapse with a friend. God doesn’t heap more guilt on us. God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night. We may feel that we are overburdening our friends by constantly going to them. God’s shoulders surely are much bigger.
But, I want to hear what God thinks! We know mostly what God thinks thus talking with God is mostly for emotional support. Most agree on moral versus immoral actions. Many decisions aren’t moral – what job to take, whether to move to a different city, etc. God doesn’t predetermine our future so we have to wonder the “right” decision. God doesn’t know if your partner is suddenly not going to honor their commitment when challenges arise. Wise or best decisions are simply taking into account past experiences, current circumstances, future aspirations, and going for it. God’s love is both freeing and uncontrolling.
Some relational decisions seem to have a touch of morality that we aren’t sure what God would do. God’s love is still freeing. Should we forgive a mom and sibling for participating in favoritism? Neither admits to any favoritism but such actions are clear to most outsiders. The Bible can be used to suggest always forgive or forgiveness if only possible when one acknowledges wrongdoing. Jesus once said to rebuke others but if they repent forgive them (Lk. 17:4). God isn’t hiding. One may forgive to best deal with personal bitterness. Others may not forgive to avoid further bitterness since the guilty denies wrongdoing.
In relationships there isn’t always a “right” thing to do. It is more complicated for leaders of nations for they are making decisions for millions, thus governments best have checks and balances. Still, a relationship with God isn’t about being told what to do. It is considering how a loving God may think on a matter and feeling free to make a decision based on your present circumstances. If you are insisting God make sure whatever decision make guarantee outcome, then you asking God to be a controller. A loving God would speak audibly if necessary; otherwise, assume you have God’s blessings if it isn’t immoral or violating the rights of others. Don’t live in fear or demand certainty which God cannot guarantee in a free world.