Have you ever said … “I’ve tried talking to God … but he never answers.”
Have you ever had that feeling?
Have you ever tried talking to God… and waited for his answer … and nothing happened?
You wondered if anyone was listening.
Well let me ask you something … What were you asking?… And what kind of an answer did you expect God to give you?
Were you looking for some kind of special sign — something a little bit spectacular that would tell you that someone had heard you?
Maybe you wanted to see some flashing lights in the sky.
It didn’t happen that way did it?
And so, now you are having a hard time believing that God is really there. You’re wondering if you weren’t a little foolish to think about God at all.
You can’t see him. You can’t hear him. And when you ask for a special sign — like maybe turning a light on and off, or something else like that — it never happens.
Well it’s true that a long time ago God did use some rather special methods to pass his messages along to his people.
One man, named Moses, heard a voice coming out of a bush that was burning. That got his attention.
Some people were given their special messages in dreams or visions.
Once God even wrote the words of his message on the wall of a palace.
And another time he caused an animal to speak with human words.
Sometimes it does seem like it would be easier to believe in God if he would talk to us in some special way doesn’t it? Or at least give us a special little sign. If he did that, then you would know for sure that he is real.
Or would you?
Would you find some other reason for doubting his answer?
Would you find some other excuse to not believe or to not accept what he said?
In the old days, God used some pretty spectacular ways of talking to people. But even when he did that, a lot of those same people still wouldn’t believe what he told them.
God doesn’t use those ways of speaking to us these days … at least not very often. He could if he wanted. But most of the time he has chosen other ways of telling us what he wants us to know.
Sometimes the answers we are looking for are already there, written down in a book — in the Bible. And all we have to do is read it and study it.
Many times we don’t hear God’s answers because we’re too impatient. We don’t wait long enough for the reply. We ask him something … and we want him to answer us immediately.
We sometimes treat God like he is our slave who is supposed to do everything we ask — to do what we want and to give us what we want, when we want it.
We forget very often who God really is.
And we forget who we are.
God isn’t just an answer machine. He’s not even a free storehouse of everything you might want.
A lot of people only talk to God when they want something … or when they’re in trouble.
The rest of the time they forget about God.
But God is always there.
He wants to share time with you — all the time — -not just when you suddenly feel like you need some help with a problem, or when you want something.
And then there’s another possible reason why you haven’t heard any answers from God.
Maybe you’ve been asking the wrong questions.
Or perhaps you’ve been asking God questions for all the wrong reasons. And that’s why you haven’t heard any answers.
Remember what I said earlier? God is not just a machine — like a computer — who has to answer all your questions or give you everything you ask for.
I guess all of us, at one time or another try to bring God down to our level. We try to treat him like a friendly and loving Uncle who loves to give presents to his favorite nieces and nephews. But that’s not who God is.
When God hears a question from you, sometimes he’ll give you an answer. Sometimes he won’t.
Sometimes we ask him to do things for us, because we’re too lazy to do it for ourselves. He’s given us brains … and knowledge … and wisdom. Most of the time, he expects us to make use of them.
I mentioned before that God has given us a place to find many of the answers we’re looking for — the most important answers. That place is a book. The Book. His book! The book we call the Bible.
Do you find the Bible is a hard book to understand? You’re not the first person to feel that way. Well, instead of just putting the Bible away on a shelf or in a cupboard, why don’t you ask God to help you understand what the Bible is saying to you. If you really want him to help you understand, he will help you. He won’t do it with a voice that you can hear with your ears. He won’t write words on your wall to explain something you don’t understand. But inside your mind — inside your head — if you truly want to understand, he will help you to understand.
Sometimes God’s answers come to us in another way.
Sometimes his answers come to us through other people who know God — people who have given their lives to God, and who are living close to him.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the better you know a person, the easier it is to talk to that person. In the same way, the better you know God — the closer you live to him, and the more you allow him to live in you, and to direct your life — the more you will understand what he wants you to do.
That’s the secret to knowing what God wants you to do.
That’s the secret to hearing his answers.
Don’t just sit back and complain, and grumble that you can’t hear his answers.
Don’t shout at God from some great distance, like a stranger.
Come close to him as a friend.
Invite him to be so close to you that he is actually in your life, and part of your life.
When that happens, his answers to us are very personal.
God doesn’t send many messages these days with flashing lights … or loud noises … or other special effects like that. But, one way or another, he does tell us what he wants us to know — especially if you have given your life to him, and if you have asked him to be part of your life.
You can have that experience too.