Why them and not me?

Sometimes God speaks to people in an audible voice, or appears to them in visions and dreams, or overwhelms them with the Holy Spirit.

Why does he do that with some people and not others?  And why does he appear at certain times in people’s lives and not at others?

I am not sure.  But I do have some tentative ideas.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Sometimes God intervenes dramatically to change the course of someone’s life.  A good example is the apostle Paul on the Damascus Road.
  • Sometimes he moves to strengthen and build up a follower at a critical time in his journey or the journey of God’s people.  A good example is God appearing to Moses in Exodus 33 where the future of the children of Israel hangs in the balance after they rejected God by creating the Golden Calf.
  • Sometimes God acts directly to demonstrate his power to unbelievers.  We see that in the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Sometimes  he makes himself known in a very deep way to assure the believer of how much he is loved.  I believe that is why the apostle Paul was lifted up to the “third heaven” as he writes in 2 Corinthians 12.

God makes himself known in these ways today.  Alan Churchill, former senior minister at Dominion Chalmers United Church in Ottawa, said many years ago that he heard God speak to him in an audible voice when he was a young RCMP officer.  That led him into a fruitful, full-time Christian ministry.

A member of our church mentioned that she saw a vision of Jesus when she attended a divine healing service many years ago.

And there have been many cases of people being filled with the Spirit and of others being healed of serious illnesses.

The great American evangelist, D.L. Moody, was already active as a preacher when the Spirit came upon him with power in New York City.  He said later: “I can only say that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.”

His biographer, J.C. Pollock, said that it changed the course of Moody’s ministry, making him “gentle as a babe, utterly dependent on a power not his own.” (p. 87, Moody without Sankey, by J.C. Pollock, Hodder & Stoughton, 1963).

Can I have an experience like that?  Yes.  God intervened in Moody’s life and in Moses’ because they hungered and thirsted for him.  They wanted more of God and they wanted God more than anything else.  They gave themselves completely to God.

The key, it seems to me, is not the experience, but God.  I must want God above all – and the experience may come or it may not.  God knows my needs better than I do.

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1 comment so far

  1. Chris S on

    As always, I am enjoying your thoughts, and have a couple of my own regarding the Lord speaking (to me)

    It’s not only God’s voice, or the perception of His voice that ‘speaks’ to me. In fact I think it’s true to say that I haven’t actually really heard a ‘voice’ per se that I’ve attributed to Him. BUT .. I KNOW He speaks to me and I ‘hear’ him in many ways.

    One way, is through YOU 🙂 Yep, you were (and are) a mentor to me and I firmly believe that God has blessed you with this gentle skill and His love shows through the work you do, for new Christians like myself a few years back, and the prayer ministry you work so hard at.

    In a manner of speaking, I believe God uses men and women like you to be His ‘voice’ to present His words in meaningful and understandable ways .. not like Moses or Paul perhaps 🙂 but in the way He sees fit to use you. Sometimes in small ways. But to those who appreciate your kindness and love of God.. you make Him more ‘real’ for us.

    I just wanted you to know that your efforts, indeed, ALL our efforts to share and discuss the Word with others are not in vain – people ARE listening, people in-need are listening.

    You have touched on another point too – when someone you care about is real to you, and you FEEL them, then you communicate with them. All the time. This is what I do, I talk to God (and usually when I’m alone or driving I do it out loud!) But I talk to Him like a friend, and I ask Him for advice and guidance and protection and I THANK Him for so many blessings I cannot count them.
    In the words of that beautiful song “when I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory, amazing artistry across the evening sky” I see Him and I KNOW He’s real – he made all that, all the wonderful creatues and much more besides.

    Travelling away from home so often recently, I have come to know that God is there with me – urging me to do the right thing and not the easy thing. He brings me much peace and comfort and I feel Him watching over me when I need Him the most.

    Interesting stuff ! We have so much to learn, don’t we 🙂


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