It was very early on a wintry Saturday morning about three years ago. I had set off for an event I was speaking at. I had driven for about twenty minutes without passing a single vehicle.
Often I use time alone in the car to pray. As I was praying, and without any warning, I heard a voice speaking to me. The words were clear as crystal: “Danger ahead, slow down.” If it wasn’t audible to my ears, it was sharply audible to my spirit.
I have learned not to analyze words God speaks. If you analyze, you place your own reasoning above God’s, and you’ll miss it. My instant mental reaction was to question. After all, with no one out and a clear road, what could the danger be? But I obeyed.
Within less than a minute, three deer appeared out of nowhere at the side of the road. The middle of January isn’t usually the time when that happens. As soon as the deer caught the sight of my headlights, there they were, all three of them, right in front of my car.
And then a remarkable thing happened. I felt a presence on my shoulders, moving my arms this way and that as I grasped the steering wheel. Out of the corners of my eyes, I saw two deer slip past my door and the third slip past the passenger door. They were so close they might have cleaned some of the winter salt off the sides.
And then they were gone, and the presence lifted.
Obviously I thanked God for his intervention. But then a question occurred to me. God clearly knew enough to warn me. Why could he not have kept the deer entirely out of my way?
And then I heard the voice once more. And the words again were clear: “I put them there.”
I could figure the rest out. The Lord allowed me to face danger in order to show me how he could miraculously keep me in the midst of it.
The message was relevant. We had been through a testing time and were wondering why God had allowed us to go through some of the things we had. Yet he had kept us in them.
We need to hear God’s voice above all through his written Word. It teaches us how, in the carrying of the cross, we are exposed to danger for Christ’s sake. Yet it promises us spiritual protection in the midst of it. And he will guarantee our lives as long as he wants to keep us on the face of this earth. That lesson has stood Elaine and I in very good stead the last couple of years, as we have taken massive steps of faith and faced considerable attack.
But then you also need to learn to hear that voice that comes in the moment, the same voice Samuel heard as a young boy, but at first could not identify. He got the key from Eli, who told him to answer: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!”
Learn to listen. It may save your life.