Often claiming to hear the voice of God is to admit you’re bat crazy. So even when we have such an experience, we often keep it to ourselves rather than make a public announcement.
Whisper unfortunately does not deny that looking crazy is one of the outcomes of a lifestyle in communion with God:
Faith is the willingness to look foolish. Noah looked a little crazy building a boat. Sarah looked a little crazy shopping for maternity clothes at age ninety. The wise men looked a little crazy following a star to Timbuktu. Peter looked a little crazy getting out of a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. If you aren’t willing to look a little crazy, you’re crazy. And when it’s the will of God, crazy turns into crazy awesome (p. 101)!
Using personal stories, anecdotes, and biblical truth Mark Batterson builds a strong defense for the connection between God and us that grows through communication and intimacy. And key to this relationship is the “voice” of God that intervenes into our lives, leading us into God’s will.
Batterson emphasizes that God’s “voice” does not necessarily manifest itself in thunder or audible words like it did for Moses on Sinai. Instead when we open our minds, our hearts, and our senses we can “hear” Him speak to us in seven love languages: through Scripture, desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings, and pain. In his exposition of each love language, Batterson brings to it his pastoral perspective. For example, about God speaking through doors, he goes beyond the usual “when one door closes, another opens.”
God closes doors to protect us.
God closes doors to redirect us.
God closes doors to keep us from less than His best (p.107)
And about pain:
. . . pleasures turn into pain when we misuse and abuse them, but make no mistake, every pleasure in its purest form is a gift from God. Yes, we can turn them into sinful pursuits when we try to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. But pleasure is a gift from God nonetheless. He whispers through those pleasures, and we should give thanks for them. But we better pay close attention to pain too. . . .
Nothing gets our full attention like pain, It breaks down false idols and purifies false motives. It reveals where we need to heal, where we need to grow. It refocuses priorities like nothing else (pp. 172–173).
While I loved the way Batterson dissects God’s voice and presents it as a tangible tool for the Christian life, I was a bit weary of the many anecdotal references. I would have preferred less of them and more biblical insight and support for the excellent points He makes.
He also retells stories from his other books, and this too I could have done without–but then, I understand how first-time readers of Batterson would need these stories as context for the content of this book. This was not a big deal–I just speed read through those parts
The above two observations are pretty minor. Batterson’s writing and his passion for Christ, as always, rises above these and all else.
Responding to God’s voice, gentle promptings, strong presence, and undeniable assurances are all testimonies of who He is and who we are in Him. This book confronts and challenges the reader to not only listen for God’s voice but to respond to His calling—to understand Him and to live in His will.
Go here for more about Mark Batterson and his other books.
For the record, I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Feature image by Zugr on Unsplash