1 Thessalonians 1:6
…for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
Just this week, a friend of mine suffered a totally unexpected blow...it pulled the rug out from under his feet as it would have anyone...this was no small thing. In listening to him tell about this, he shared a sweetly meaningful story about how God spoke to him when he needed it the most - in what might be considered a most unusual way...through candy Valentine hearts.
This may sound odd...would God really use candy to speak to someone? Certainly He does not need to do such things, but I am one who truly believes that God uses many ways to speak to His children, if we only tune in to listen.
This got me to thinking about how many times God has sent my heart a message when I so needed to hear it. For me, God so often uses nature to minister to my soul. When I was a new Christian and trying to learn how to "tune into" God, I was not sure what I was listening for. Truth be told, I felt kind of weird even trying. When I heard others proclaim they had "heard" from Him, that sounded odd too. I was not sure what this really meant...nor what I should expect. But it eventually did happen and the first time it did, that is, the first time I actually heard Him, it was very profound.
I remember the exact setting I was in, which was at a women's retreat, during our "quiet time." I often find myself longing to be where I can hear the sound of water. So I walked until I found what felt like the right place, turning out to be a large boulder near a creek, and I sat down. I did my assignment and then, with nothing else to occupy me, I waited. And waited. Surprisingly enough, when I had finally stilled myself from distraction, I heard God speak. He spoke as He often does, through what I saw in my surroundings, telling me truths in wonderful ways that are with me to this day.
Over the years I've learned to better tune into God's whispered messages to me. Where many would write such occurrences off as mere coincidences, I know, as my friend in the beginning of my story does, that God longs for us to hear Him when He whispers to our souls. And whisper He does.
Sometimes God's messages to me come in solitude, when I am intentionally stilling myself, hoping I will hear Him. God's whisper to me can come as the lovely smell of flowers, birds singing, beautiful sunrises or sunsets. Other times when I am distracted by the busyness of life, I can hear His voice through an unexpected breeze caressing my face. Many times, He has truly taken my breath away, brought tears to my eyes and quieted and comforted my heart in a way nothing else can, nothing else. Oh yes, God speaks.
So back to my friend. The week before he experienced the unexpected blow, he had been given this cup of candy hearts which he had left in his car, relatively ignored. Who knew that a week later, those simple hearts would be used by God to bring him words of affirmation and comfort he so desperately needed to hear. Guess what? God knew...and God did.
The intimate details of my friend's story are amazing, but they are deeply personal and really his alone to tell. But God used my friend opening up his heart to me to whisper a reminder that He truly does speak to His children; He always has and He always will.
God is not limited in how He speaks. He created us each uniquely and wonderfully; how we hear him may be unique too. But it is definitely worth asking yourself - or better yet asking Him - what might He be trying to say to you?