Over the years since I began conversing with God, I have had many doubts. Are these conversations real? Is God really talking with me? Am I crazy? One thought which could not take hold was that I was talking with evil spirits. The voice I was hearing was a voice of love, and my heart responded to that love. My love language is communication. A God who both listens and talks with me won my heart.
This past summer, I stopped hearing God. I do not say God stopped speaking, but I stopped hearing. It was devastating. Just as a tree grows in response to light, I had grown amazingly in response to God's love and His giving of Himself to me in communication. Though I wasn't hearing His voice, I had the understanding that God was allowing my fears to grow so I could see them for the lies they were and reject them. I knew I had been holding onto both faith and doubt. I had to make a decision. The picture I had was of a garden with small weeds continuing to steal nutrition from the true vegetables. With God's help, I was plucking up the weeds before they could grow big, but they always snapped off and left the roots behind. God wanted to remove the roots.
A few years back, God asked me what doubt is. I didn't know. Was doubt the same as unbelief? With the help of my husband and BibleWorks software, I hunted for the answer. I learned something interesting. The Greek word for doubt basically means to sit in judgment listening to the evidence on both sides of an argument. It means you haven't decided yet which is true. You're considering. The writer George MacDonald considered doubt an important part of our Spiritual development. Without the process of doubt, we could never reach the truth. Jesus brought doubt with Him. Can the law really save you? You say you keep the law, but if you break it in your heart, you are breaking the law. If you break just one bit of the law you are breaking the whole of the law. Can the law really save you? If no one had doubted and considered Jesus' questions, no one could have come to faith in Him.
Doubt is important to our Spiritual development, but the purpose of doubt must be accomplished. We must make a decision. What do we believe? We cannot keep endlessly listening to arguments. We must make a decision, a firm decision. God told me, we have to shut the door behind us and begin to walk down the path we've chosen. He assured me, even if I made the wrong decision, He could lead me to a turn around place. I thought about how often when driving we have to go the wrong direction for a time in order to get to the right place. God told me to start walking, and He would go with me. So I decided to walk down the path with God and talk with Him. While we walked, He invited me to ask Him any questions and tell Him why I continued to doubt.
We walked and talked together for two years. God more than answered every objection I had for Him. Then He rested His case. It was time for me to make a decision. I had to choose whether I would believe what He said or what I had always understood in the past. I knew what I wanted to chose. God's words and His presence are beautiful. What I couldn't figure out was what to do with the doubt I still had. I tried to wrestle with it and make it go away. It wouldn't go. I agonized. I waited. I accused God of not helping me.
Finally I asked God one more question. What do I do with the doubt? Instantly, I was standing in front of my Grandfather's barn. A vision like this was a new experience for me, but I knew it was God. Um, why am I here? "Climb up into the hayloft." I climbed into the hayloft. It was filled with golden light and hay and haydust. I waited a minute; then um, what do I do here? "Lay down and rest." I lay down. I waited a minute; then um, why am I in the hayloft? I don't get it. Instantly, I was in front of the barn again. I saw the barn -- hayloft above, barn floor below. The hayloft was dusty, but clean. The barn floor was nasty. You really want galoshes/gum boots to walk there. As I looked, I heard, "You stay in the hayloft. I will deal with the barn floor." I realized that I had been mucking about on the barn floor of my doubts. I was trying to rid myself of the filth of my doubts and was only getting more mired. My place is to dwell on my faith and to nurture it by resting in God's light, in His life-giving presence. The only decision I need to make is to continue to listen to and to respond to His voice, to continue to walk in His presence, to focus on what is true rather than on all the doubts the world would throw at me.
Over the years as I have conversed with God, I have many times had others say they longed for that kind of communication with God. I have said that God loves to communicate with His children including them. Several times, I have been asked, But what if you don't believe He communicates with you? I haven't known what to answer. These are people whom I love. I want them to have what I have. I'm a woman. I love community gab sessions. My conversations tend to be heavily spiked with God talk rather than gossip, but that's because gossip is boring and old hand. It may be a new person, but the news is old. The things I'm hearing are NEWS. I love talking them over with others. I have longed to answer their question but haven't known how. The answer is that the question is wrong. Instead of looking at ourselves and at the sin and unbelief at work within us, we need to look at God, the Good Father, who is love. Love communicates. All we can do is think on these things. If we long to communicate with God, then that longing is something we inherited from Him. He promised that His sheep hear His voice. Our longing for Him tells us we are His sheep. Don't be afraid to listen to the voice of love that is already speaking to you.