On our own, we cannot understand what God is saying.
Most of us fail to recognize that something supernatural is taking place when we understand what God is saying to us. We falsely assume it is a natural extension of our own thinking process, when it is not. But every once in a while we are given a window showing us that understanding what God is saying is a place to which God takes us, not something our mind and brain can do on their own.
Rosie cleared U.S. customs speaking little English . . . but she had the courage to leave everything she had ever known and the will to throw herself into whatever work she could find with humility, heart and soul. From the very first time we met Rosie, we loved her . . . It was like we recognized that she belonged in our lives as much as we belonged in hers. She became an extension of our family. In a very few years this very bright woman taught herself English, bought a car, started a business, purchased a home, and obtained her much prayed for green-card. . . no small miracle.
But when Rosie arrived, she had no personal experience of God, only a mix of Mormon missionary teaching and Catholic family history. She (understandably) experienced a great deal of fear and a great reliance on the money she was slowly earning and saving. One afternoon I asked her to sit at the kitchen table with me. As we took our places I sensed she was afraid, having no idea what I was about to say.
Taking her hand in mine, looking deeply into her dark brown eyes I tried to connect at a level beyond our normal stilted communication of broken English with variations of Portuguese and charades thrown in. I just began to speak. I told her about God, about Jesus, about how He is always with her, how He is her helper, how He had brought her to us, how she needed to begin to look for Him and trust Him in her life — and that whatever else she had been taught to believe, Jesus is real and He is alive.
About half-way through my impassioned talk, as my English spilled out fast and furiously, inexplicable tears began to stream down Rosie’s cheeks. Not until I finished did she explain.
“Miss Valerie,” Rosie said in her heavy accent, her voice choked with emotion, “this whole time you be speak, I understand perfect . . . it like you speak Portuguese! I understand! ”
You see, Rosie knew that normally her mind would have had to fight to understand me, piecing together the meaning of many strange words as she tried to follow what I was saying. But early into my sharing she realized she was not having to figure out what I was saying; she simply understood, almost as if I was speaking in her native tongue. Rosie was crying because it was her first experience of God making Himself real to her; she recognized that He was giving her the supernatural ability to understand what I was saying, as He spoke to her heart over and above me.
Up until this window that God gave Rosie and me, I thought that understanding what God has to say to us was natural. That day He began to show me it is supernatural.
It is the supernatural that is missing, when someone hears a sermon or reads a book but does not hear what God is saying to them through it. Your brain can’t take you there. It is our ease, or lack of ease, with the supernatural — which we cannot produce on our own — that accounts for the ease or lack of ease with which God enables us to hear and understand Him.
Hearing and understanding what God is saying to you
is not something you can figure out.
My experience that day with Rosie is being repeated now, with this blog. Comments are beginning to filter in, in which the use of English suggests it is not the writers’ first language. The email addresses accompanying these comments are French, Spanish and Italian. It humbles and amazes me that anyone would fight through the language barrier to understand what I am writing. But last week this comment came, and it swept my heart as I realized that this person across an ocean is experiencing the same supernatural phenomenon that Rosie did across the kitchen table.
En savoir plus . . . commented, “I am not very wonderful with English but I get hold this really easy to interpret.”
What I write is not easy to understand, much less interpret . . . I don’t want to dumb things down, but provoke deep thought that will take us where we have not been. This comment was left under the post, “Scripture, Building the Supernatural Into Us” — a post that has challenged a lot of people whose first language is my own. How much more challenging it must be for someone who is not “very wonderful with English.”
God does it.
This is not a “how to” blog. My title, How We Understand What God is Saying to Us Now, does not promise to teach “how to” hear and understand God, but to explain the dynamics that have to be taking place in order for God to get you to the place where you hear and understand Him . . . Because it is God Who creates the supernatural ability in you to understand what He is communicating in any given moment.
Scripture is endlessly fascinating in that it describes a reality which we cannot find, an actuality that does not prove true by any effort of our own to get there — it describes a reality that we can only read about and hear about — until it becomes real to us because God has taken us there Himself.
Job described this when he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You. . .” (Job 42:5)
All his life Job had thought about God, prayed to God, feared God, learned about God, talked of God — but now he was seeing Him, experiencing what he had only heard of before.
God had to take him to that place.
Understanding what God is saying to you is one of those realities, which you cannot figure out, which does not prove real by any effort of your own. Hearing and understanding what God is saying to you only becomes real to you, when God gets you there Himself.
This is what understanding what God is saying looks like.
You (on the left) are filled with the ability God gives you (quickening gold light), so that you are able to break through the barrier into understanding what God is making known to you.
In this place to which God’s empowerment takes you (on the right side of the barrier), you are able to experience the reality of God. He is no longer hidden from you, and you find yourself experiencing His presence.
We have no way to make this journey apart from the ability God gives us.
The supernatural power coming from God to enable us
has many names in Scripture. . . It is often called grace.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord . . . Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Sometimes this (gold line moving from God to man) is called the word of grace
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
In the divine dialogue taking place between you and God, that gold line arcing from Him to you represents His word coming to find you. That word holds in itself the potential ability to get you from where you are to the place where you hear and understand God.
Given the right soil of soul, that word will unfold into the quickening energy — the supernatural capacity — we call faith.
By faith we understand . . . Heb 11:3
Faith is the name Scripture uses to describe our capacity to receive God’s power to plunge us past the last hindrance into really hearing and understanding what God is trying to tell us.
On our own, we cannot get there.
The green arrow, falling short of the target (of passage through the barrier), is a picture of our best natural effort to understand God on our own.
Try as hard as we might, we are not going to experience God — softly overwhelmed by the sense of His presence breaking over us as we understand what He is saying to us — not because He has not sent us the means to get there (grace, the word), but because something in us is hindering that word from having its way with us.
As Rosie sat at the kitchen table with me, she was allowing the word of His grace to “have its way” with her . . . with no training, with no prior experience, with no “special gift” she began to understand what God was saying to her.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them. . . Prov 20:12
the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Prov 9:10
Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way? Proverbs 20:24
The Hebrew word used here for understanding is “biyn”. As a verb biyn means to discern, to perceive, to observe, to pay attention to. When it is used in the causative sense, it indicates someone or something that gives understanding, that teaches.
We see how people discern by means of their senses: by their eyes, their ears, by touch, by taste. But neither the senses nor the intellect, by themselves, can take us to the place of “biyn” discernment. Those who hear do not always understand (Dan 12:8). Some of the greatest minds have totally missed God.
Throughout Scripture, a foundational principle is that God gives understanding [i]
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You don’t leave your intellect and common sense behind; you don’t discard the natural instincts and gifts you’ve been given. But these are all natural… unable to inherit the supernatural . . . not able, in themselves, to take you to understanding.
Connection with God. Protection. Deliverance. Knowing that you are not alone. Being taught. Being led. Being held up when you think you cannot stand. Being corrected when you think you are right, but you’re wrong. Being comforted by a perfectly worded message for your specific need in that given moment. The exquisite awareness of something God has just said spreading like pale light from your horizon to fill the dome of your conscious mind. This is what The Divine Dialogue makes possible.
This is the place to which God takes us. . . the place we are meant-to-be.
[i] from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament Copyright © 2003 by AMG Publishers. All rights reserved.