A few weeks ago our pastor handed out A5-sized notebooks to the entire congregation. The covers of these books were were emblazoned with the words ‘Hearing Heart,’ supported by an image of a heart that on close examination is partly comprised of an ear. These gifts kicked off a sermon series entitled ‘Hearing Heart.’ Each week the congregation has been given journal tasks. As the sermon series has progressed we have been invited to split into small groups for part of the service to share what God has been saying to us. The message from all the teaching is quite simple: God speaks. We just have to learn how to listen.

I believe God speaks in many ways, and through many things, if only we open our eyes as well as our ears. Recently I have found God speaking to me in ways I would never have noticed before. After a pretty lousy flight home from Istanbul the other week God spoke to me through the beaming smile of the young woman who was directing people to different queues for border control. Then He spoke to me through the man working at the currency exchange kiosk. When I first saw him I saw a face that would not have looked out of place in a group photograph of Taliban fighters. When I looked again I saw a child of God and we had a wonderful conversation. God speaks. We just have to learn to view His world through different eyes. Through His eyes.

But I also believe that God speaks directly to each of us. Why don’t we hear him? Is it because we choose not to make time or find a place to listen for His quiet whisper? For me that place is the same wherever I am in the world. On my knees in His presence. But it shouldn’t stop there. I should be constantly listening out for God’s voice. Constantly seeking, consulting, listening, obeying. One day I will get there.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:10-13 NIV)