I have noticed that, in different seasons of my life, I experience hearing God in different ways. After coming back from Bolivia, I experienced Him in yet another way. Let me say though—many times I read others’ experiences of God and go into a comparison game, comparing their lives to mine, instead of reading their experiences and encounters as possibilities for my life. I see myself as coming up short because I have not arrived there yet. I have wised up to the comparison and hyper-interceptive schemes that the enemy loves to use in our lives to make us feel like we are “growing” in the Lord, but instead keeps us in the frustrating cycle of the “never good enoughs”. I would much rather talk about God and how He works instead of the enemy. So I will do that, instead of hanging out in the frustrations of the Satan.
Evan, Jessica, and I recently went to Bolivia for two weeks. As we prepared for this trip by praying over it weekly as a team, I began this new experience of God’s voice. I did not realize it fully until hind sight. As our team prayed, I began to have peace and rest come over me until I almost could not stay awake. When that happens one time, we can chalk it up to a long week. Week two it happens again and week three and so on. The only thing that I and the others were hearing at that time had to do with refreshing winds that would be going with us. Little did I know, He was refreshing us so we could refresh others. Hmmm…sounds a bit familiar.
Proverbs 11:25 — The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
As we arrived in Santa Cruz and pulled in the host home, a wind blew so strong that our host joked about the wind being for and coming with us. Normally, it is not that windy, breezy yes and I love it—but this was way more than a breeze. Also worth noting: the weather was cooler than normal. Usually it is, in that season, HOT but it was in the mid-70s. One could say quite refreshing. Something in my heart connected with the weather. I can’t fully describe it, other than knowing it somehow was God. Yet little did I know, He was talking through my senses.
I have heard God through night dreams, in visions/pictures in my head, words running through my mind, words of wisdom through a friend, His Word, etc. I have even experienced His voice in a sense of urgency inside my heart that causes me to take some kind of action. But this was truly different from all of these. Let me also say that I am not talking about mother earth speaking or any new age crud. Rather, God is so limitless in how He can speak to us and what He uses to speak through.
One word we received from Him as we prayed, pre-trip, was that He was going to shift some things as we were there. One afternoon I lay in a hammock, processing with the team about our time thus far there. At this point, we had been there about four days. One of the things we were discussing was when a shift would happen. Nothing at this point felt earth-moving enough to call it a shift. This is the thought that went thought my mind and others also voiced. I felt the Lord tug on my heart that that was not true. Shifts had taken place. So I said to Him, “what do you mean?” Then nothing; I “heard” nothing. But as I waited, the wind picked up, and the wind gust blew all around. I thought, “hmm, is that You?”, and no sooner did I say that to Him, to my mind, it blew even harder. So I got quiet and enjoyed gust after gust. About 10 minutes passed of these gusts and I realized His answer: His voice was the wind—and then it stopped.
Earth shifting changes you can hear, see and feel. When tectonic plates shift, the earth can result in a tsunamis or earth quakes. These are very easy to perceive, right? But when the wind shifts you can generally only feel it. I am sure, for argument sake, that you probably can see or hear wind if you are really paying attention right at the right moment. In general though, wind is something you feel more and it is much gentler than earth-moving shifts. Off and on throughout our whole trip in Bolivia, even when we were in La Paz, there would be moments of wind I can’t explain. I know now, in hindsight, that He was shifting things in those moments. I believe one of the shifts that took place was refreshing and peace. We encountered many that needed encouragement and a refueling of sorts. Haha, how we came full circle to the pre-trip prayers and what He poured into us before we even got there.
If I can leave you with one parting thought, it would be this. If you’re in a season of feeling like you can’t hear God, ask Him in what way He talking to you and don't be surprised how He answers. It might just be in the wind.