In our search for the gas station’s restrooms, I hurried my three young sons past a man who sat cross-legged on the sidewalk.
“If you’re looking for the bathrooms, they’re that way,” he said, pointing.
“Thanks,” I mumbled as I rushed by. The man looked unkempt and made me a little nervous.
As we returned to the car, I had a strong impression God wanted me to talk to go back and talk to the man. I balked.
Lord, if you want me to talk to him, what am I supposed to say?
The answer came as a clear thought:
He is a seeker, but I am seeking him.
Heart pounding, I decided to go address the stranger on the sidewalk.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes. God told me to talk to that man ,” I told the boys.
“Okay, Mama!” they said cheerfully.
Walking over to the man, I squatted down to his level, and said, “Excuse me, sir—this may sound weird, but I believe God wants me to tell you something.”
He looked straight at me, attentive.
“God wants you to know that, even though you’re looking really hard for something, he’s looking even harder for you.”
He burst into tears before I finished the sentence.
“I’m looking for my daughter,” he said. “It’s her birthday, and I want to give her this.” He reached into the backpack at his side and pulled out a single rose and a small, wrapped gift.
The sad story tumbled out—how he’d been in jail, how his brother stole the heart of his wife and took her and his kids away, how he was trying to get to his mom’s place so he could find them.
He’d been part of a church in the past, but had gotten derailed spiritually.
By the time my husband finished paying for gas, he saw me praying for this man and joined me. We left him with a new Bible and hope in his heart.
This story certainly illustrates the great love of God for his prodigal children, but it also illustrates a parenting principle.
Our boys didn’t bat an eye when I said, “God told me…”
This was not unusual conversation in our household. We drew our children into our own experiences when they occurred, so they could understand how to hear and respond to God’s voice.
You can do that, too, using both instruction and modeling.
Children are concrete thinkers, so it helps to explain that God’s voice isn’t usually heard audibly—it’s more like a clear thought in your mind which you didn’t come up with by yourself.
A thought from God gives you wisdom and knowledge beyond your own understanding.
My grandson recently asked about how we can hear God’s voice, so I told him another story from my own experience:
I’d gone to the bank to open a new account. The clerk who helped me seemed slow and inefficient. In my impatience, I mentally grumbled and sighed until I heard the thought,
“Why don’t you have mercy on her?”
God’s voice reminded me of what he is like—and what he wants me to be like.
My example seemed to help Reuel understand the concept of God’s voice a little better.
Tell your kids how God has spoken wisdom (or correction) to you. Remind them God never contradicts his word, and that’s why we need to spend time in the Bible to know what he is like.
Need a good resource for yourself on this topic? Check out Whisper by Mark Batterson.
May your whole family learn to hear God’s voice more and more clearly.