Communicating with God

Does God Speak to Us?

Does God speak to us? James Choung reflects on his experience of hearing God.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. Have you ever known someone who claims to have "heard a voice" and attributed it to God? What did you think of their claim?
  2. In what ways might God be trying to get your attention?

I went to college. Um, I, I did grow up in a Christian home, and my parents, uh, were great. They were wonderful. They were faithful. They gave me little reason to think that they were hypocrites, uh, so I don't have that excuse. But I went to college, and, you know, it was my first time away from home and I— long story, short— I ended up joining a fraternity house, and, um, it was a lot of fun. Just frankly, it was a lot of fun, and doing the whole, you know, Friday nights going, going to parties and swallowing live goldfish, that kind of business. Even though I was still finding ways to get to church, my life, uh, in many ways wasn't reflective of, of any sense of God in my life. Three months in, I was on my winter break. I came home, my dad invited me to come to a church retreat, and, um, and I went. And my dad had to convince me to go, you know. He said all your friends are going to be there. I was like, "Oh, okay. Maybe I'll, maybe I'll go," and I end up going, and it's terrible. The speaker was really bad, you know. He— I hope he's not watching this— he was really bad. He, he talked about death for an hour and a half. Every talk I was bored out of my brains. There wasn't anything intellectually or that was feeding me or had a sense of truth in it. I was just there and hanging out with my friends. But, um, on the last night, uh, when we were— the whole group was going into a time of prayer, and the pastor was going around praying for each person, and, um, I was doing my best to avoid him. So he would come to one corner, and I'd slip away to another corner. And he would come to that corner, and I would slip away to another. I was doing my best to avoid any kind of prayer. Um, so I ended up in the middle of a room, and for some reason the pastor left me alone, and it was in that room that I swore I heard something like a voice, and it wasn't audible. It wasn't something like, I can— that everyone else might be able to hear. And— but it definitely was something internal and it was definitely, it felt like it wasn't something that was from me. And I heard the words, "you have been far from me." And I can't explain it. It just had a way of cutting right to the heart. It had a way of waking me up to a reality that I wasn't seeing every single day, and, uh, that was the beginning of, "Okay, well, you've got my attention now. Where do we go from here?" You know, and I, you know, can't say that my life was perfect after that moment. And it hasn't been perfect for the last how many years since then. Uh, but still, even I was wrestling with some, some things and over a 6-month period, I was starting to find myself, um, learning more about Jesus, learning more about how God's supposed to, to work in my life. At some point, it's usually some sort of experience that helps us actually go, "Okay, I thought it made sense in my head, but now I'm going to actually let my life reflect this new belief." I think it was a, an old comedian from a way— a while ago— that said that when we talk to God, that's considered prayer, but when God talks to us, that's considered crazy. You know, and so I feel little bit weird talking about it, but at the same time, it's those kinds of experiences that where heaven intersects earth, where something more supernatural breaks through the natural that gives us a glimpse that God might be around. But I think there's, there is a world out there that we don't see, and I do believe God is constantly trying to get our attention. He just tends to speak more in whispers and mysteries. He doesn't overwhelm us so that we can find him and possibly fall in love.