I have learned to hear God speak. In pictures and sometimes in voice. But the most traumatic reply I have ever received from God was the answer to my very first question. As a teenager I wrestled with my faith. I felt angry with God and my prayers were more like accusations. One day His voice answered and shook my world.
A question for God
It started when I reluctantly participated in a bible study. I had not wanted to go but I had been asked to attend to support a friend. It was during one of these studies we focused on asking God a question and expecting a reply. It sounded ridiculous to me, but I had many questions for God. I put my pride aside and hid away in my bedroom to give it a try. I sat there thinking of questions and then flipping through my bible to read random pages. As I did so I looked expectantly for a clear answer but it left me confused. I threw my bible to the floor and had a bath. In the silence, with no distractions, I asked God a question.
“God, Why don’t you just start again? We’re all so imperfect.”
In the silence, in that bathroom, the image of a gun formed in my head and it was like it was in my hand. I felt a chill pluck down my arms and back as a picture of my family flashed in my mind. Words formed slowly in my mind but were felt through my body like a shout.
Shoot your family
“You love your family, but there are a lot of things you don’t like about them.
What if I told you that I could replace them with a perfect family. And all you have to do is take that gun and look your family in the eye as you shoot each one.”
I could hear the gunshots in my head as I saw the faces of my family. Of my younger sister, who I loved so much. Their faces burned behind my eyes as horror filled me. I cried as I felt the weight of that decision. No matter their imperfections, I loved them.
The anger of God weighed upon me. I had asked if He was capable of killing me and everyone else as though it were nothing to replace us. To start again. A bible passage flashed through my memory:
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
And as clearly as if God had spoken out loud I heard him respond:
“If you are unable to ‘start again’ because of your love for your family, though you are evil, how much more does your Father in heaven Love You.”
And that’s when it finally clicked. Despite my imperfections I am a part of His family, His child. He designed me and breathed life into me. To end all life and begin again is too heart breaking for him. For it would mean the death of his family. He is so desperate to give us life that he sent his only son so that we might not be apart from him.
I look at the tale of Noah and I see it with new eyes. Think! One more family is all it would have taken and he couldn’t do it. He could have started afresh, but for the love of Noah, a man with many imperfections, he let our world live.
I am loved
The day I heard back from God was 10 years ago and it felt as if I had been slapped awake.
I called out to God and he answered. It took gunshots in the bathroom to wake me up and start listening.
God always wants to be heard and to answer questions. I hear him most strongly in the quiet when I am alone. I see pictures. My husband hears songs. I believe people will hear God in many different ways, for we all think differently and God knows how to speak to each of us.
“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:5
In the years to come I continued to speak to God and to hear back. And though I have run from God and come back again I’ve never questioned from then on that I am loved.
Jacinta Julius was a girl when she met God and a woman when she stopped running from Him. She is a mother, a lover, a writer and a painter. She is driven one day and run down the next. A normal person. She currently resides in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia with her family.
See all previous articles by Jacinta Julius