Listening for God’s Voice through Your Tears
By: Lia Martin
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” – 1 Samuel 3:10
Despite our attempts to be ‘more than a conqueror’ over life’s cacophony, it rolls forward continuously. Full of desires, swirling with input, and busy with tasks and plans.
It’s no secret that seeking God’s will is a struggle. It can be especially challenging for women, as we tend toward multitasking over compartmentalizing. While Christians know that ‘trouble’ in this world (John 16:33) is a promise, it can be so hard to receive it as a blessing. I remember the first time I heard Laura Story’s heavenly song “Blessings,” I was driving through a rainstorm with my children on my mind. It ministered to me as my own tears joined the downpour. My marriage was straining under the pressures of parenting, earning, bill-paying, and the world’s temptations. I was feeling less than who God made me to be.
And yet, as the song encourages: what if your healing comes through tears? Isn’t it when you are at your lowest that you can finally hear God’s heartbeat? It’s there, in between sobs, beating steadily, as if in harmony with our own.
I have found that when I can no longer hold up any pretense that ‘I’m good,’ then I am ready for the blessing of God’s voice.
Sure, I ‘see’ Him on the good days, I ‘feel’ Him on the great days, I’m in awe of Him on the enjoyable, productive, or rewarding days. But I hear him on the hard days. In the depth of sorrow, He speaks.
In one of many Beth Moore Bible studies I’ve enjoyed, I recall her practicing a conversation she hoped never to have with God. It was: what if my worst nightmare came true? She tested the horrifying possibility of her husband betraying her on God’s ability.
As I recall it, she said something like, “but God, I would fall down dead and just cry myself for days.” And God replied: “And then what?” And she continued: “I might lay there and not eat and get ill and feel awful and just be disabled by the grief.” And then God replied: “And then what?” And as Beth continued the possible scenario, she realized that no matter what, while there is God, life goes on. And eventually, He would lift her up. He promises.
In 1 Samuel 3, Samuel runs to the voice he hears with a beautiful response: Here I am. In scripture, this experience symbolizes his inability to discern God’s voice from the voices of people in his life. And to ultimately, with Eli’s wise direction, submit to the patient and persistent call of God’s voice. As a servant.
In the story, it is an audible, or outer voice. Yet, I feel it’s safe for us to believe that in any of our defining moments of hardship, we can be obedient to receive a conviction from God as an inner voice. One thing this story teaches us is that the more we get quiet in His presence, the more He will patiently repeat His direction. It’s how you can know, when ready, that you are hearing the divine. Not an impulse. Not someone else’s push on your life.
And the news Samuel had to receive was not flowery or nice or even something to look forward to. But it was God’s great plan. After not sleeping all night, Samuel told Eli the truth about his time with God.
Samuel’s news and story are not yours. Yours is unique. Yet I believe God would want you to know what is true, what is imminent, what is worthy, and what is yours or not yours. In perfect timing, just as He raised Samuel into maturity as a prophet, God will mature your story, too. Even when it’s raining down trouble harder than ever.
Keep listening. Keep running to His voice. As you walk directly into the pain you feel, or the fear that’s strangling you, or the misery that’s breaking you, ask for His voice. With practice, patience, and perseverance, you will find that He speaks truth in love that will bless you.
Even if the blessing is the very state of brokenness into which you will finally allow His healing.
Lia Martin loves to inspire others to lean into the Lord daily. She's a writer, editor, marketer, former Crosswalk.com Faith Editor, and author of Wisdom at Wit's End: Abandoning Supermom Myths in Search of Supernatural Peace. When she's not cultivating words, she loves walking in nature, reading, exploring the latest health trends, and laughing with her two wonderful kids. She blogs at liamartinwriting.com.
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