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What if you believed hearing from God could actually be fun? This beckons the question – do you think God can speak to you? And I don’t mean just through his Word or through the interpretation of Scripture. I mean like Moses, Abraham, and Paul, who heard His voice. If He does still speak to us today, then how? When? Where? Maybe you are like me. I needed to put these questions to the test.

Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “With all your heart, rely on him to guide you and become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.” Initially, this may not make sense because to most of us, natural things are more tangible than the supernatural. However, as you will see, if you eliminate all distractions and prioritize your spirit, it becomes easier to be guided by the Spirit of God.

Several years ago, my wife Peggy was challenged by her friend Karen to trust God’s guidance. Her approach differed markedly from conventional methods that you and I might use. Rather than relying on a map or GPS, Karen followed what she believed were promptings from God. Rather than relying on a map or GPS, Karen followed what she believed were promptings from God. For example, she might feel directed to turn left and would do so. Then, after some distance, she might receive another prompting to turn left or right. It used to drive Peggy crazy. Peggy’s frustration with her friend’s approach was glaringly a fundamental difference in how they perceived guidance and decision-making. Sure, Peggy could trust God for big picture concepts, but to have the confidence to hear so clearly on specific driving directions was out of her wheelhouse.

Peggy expressed her concerns to Karen, “do you have any idea where you are going?  What if you make a wrong turn and get lost? After all, this is backwoods country where there’s sketchy cell service, and the risk of getting lost is real.”

Karen acknowledged Peggy’s concern and replied confidently, fully convinced that “God’s got this. He’s got a divine appointment in store for me. You’ll see. He’s always right, and I have complete trust in Him.”

Sensing her friend’s unease, Karen shared a story with Peggy to inspire her faith. She recounted a time when she felt God prompting her to take an unexpected turn. Compelled by this inner prompting, Karen spontaneously detoured from her initial route, leading her to an unknown location.

“As I often envision Jesus accompanying me on trips,” Karen shared. “I feel relaxed and enjoy His closeness, finding comfort in His presence. Instead of feeling anxious, I can clearly hear God’s driving directions.  I was excited to see where He would take me. I was at peace.”

Continuing her story, Karen recounted, “Then, off the beaten path, I came to a remote little church that I had never been to or even knew existed. I didn’t know where I was, but I was confident that God knew. It felt like a divine appointment. The timing was perfect. As I walked through the doors of that little church, there was a service in progress. The preacher was expecting me. He, too, was hearing from God and knew that this was a divine appointment and that I had a prophetic word for his congregation.

Time after time, Karen faithfully heard from God and trusted that He would never mislead her, always and unquestionably knowing that there was a purpose. As I listened to my friend’s adventurous, and for me, anxiety-provoking, story, I struggled with trusting that I could hear clearly enough for God to be my GPS navigator.

UNTIL ..…. 

Pressing in and listening to God

Our vacation in Arizona began under cloudy skies and with light rain, far from ideal conditions for sightseeing. Wavering on where to go or what to see, Peggy got this brilliant notion that it would be fun to tune into spontaneous flow and let God decide. My own indecision had sparked Peggy’s inspiration. She now felt inspired to see where God would lead us when we let go and trusted Him to navigate our journey.

“Are you kidding!?” I thought, dismissing Peggy’s suggestion. Turn off the GPS?  Who knows where we might end up?  For miles, you could see nothing but prairie, grasslands, desert, and giant 5-ton saguaro cacti standing 40 feet tall like sentinels.

“I have an idea,” Peggy proposed.  “Let’s see if we can get the same number exit as a way of hearing in unity.”
“Uh-huh,” I replied unenthusiastically, not taking the exercise too seriously, and then returned to looking out the window as she steered the car up Interstate Highway 17 at 75 miles per hour with the windows and roof open in our luxury rental car, a 2019 Jaguar.

When we booked the rental, we asked for an economy car, but apparently, God had already gone ahead and arranged for an upgrade.  “Expect Upgrades,” Peggy heard in a revelation in October of 2018 during a business trip to Brazil. And so, we got upgraded from a no-frills, low-budget vehicle to a luxury Jaguar at no additional cost!!

As the car sped along with windows down, the sunroof open, and miles and miles of desert and giant saguaro cacti, I started falling into a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. As I began to nod, I formed a mental image of hundreds to thousands of cacti with their arms raised toward heaven, worshipping their creator. Psalm 148:5 says, “Let all of creation erupt with praise to God.” 

The desert is a place of solitude, silence, and stillness. Perhaps this is why Jesus regularly withdrew into the desert: to hear God. I knew, too, that I had to get alone in my mind, free of unrelenting chatter and noise, and become still if I was to hear God and come into unity with Peggy. But right now, it wasn’t happening.

Suddenly, I was startled from my half-awake, half-asleep state.  “Bill, I’m serious; let’s ask God where He wants us to go. Ask Him for an exit number, and let’s see if we get the same one as an exercise in hearing in Unity.”

“What!?” I said, half dazed. Peggy paused to allow me time to listen with my spirit as if I were waiting for divine confirmation.  

“Okay. Now, what exit number did you hear?”

This wasn’t resonating with me. I mean, why would God bother telling us which exit to take? How could we possibly reach our destination without a road map or GPS? It just didn’t make sense to me.

 “Don’t you believe it?” Peggy implored, her tone pleading.    “C’mon.”

I tried to avoid the question, although deep down, I couldn’t deny my belief that God is capable of anything. Reminded of the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to me through faith in Ephesians 1:19, I knew this was true. However, I found it hard to believe that God would be concerned with something so trivial. Didn’t God have more important matters to attend to?

Trying to brush off the question, I humored Peggy and mumbled, “Um, okay, exit 101,” and returned to looking out the window. As I set my reclining seat further back, I folded my arms and closed my eyes as if to say, “I’m sleeping.”  Was it not apparent that I was saying, “Sorry, I’m not interested in playing right now?” Perhaps I was afraid of not being able to hear God and not wanting to be stretched.

“Bill, we’re already in the 200’s going North. C’mon. Listen again,” Peggy urged, her tone pleading.

There was a long silence.  Then Peggy asked as if it were a statement of fact,  “You don’t believe it, do you?” Peggy seriously wanted us to connect with God and with each other. We had sought God’s guidance before, but this was, without a doubt, most unconventional.I reasoned, what person in their right mind would turn off their GPS to listen to God for driving directions?  This was totally out of my comfort zone, and I was having nothing to do with it. I also had some bedfellows tagging along for the ride – doubt, fear, and unbelief.  Peggy’s voice cut through the air, her tone stern and challenging. “Where is your faith to believe? Stop doubting!”

We were just a couple of vehicles driving on a long stretch of highway when a car sped past us in the fast lane. “Wow, did you see that?” Peggy exclaimed, her voice filled with excitement. The car’s license plate read S K P T I C. I replied that I hadn’t seen it as I wasn’t paying attention. Peggy then floored it, quickly switching lanes to show me the license plate. I sat upright in my passenger seat, alert and on edge. My muscles tightened as I was abruptly thrust from my comfort zone by the sudden acceleration in speed.

“Whoa! Slow down, don’t ride this guy’s tail!” “It’s fine,“ she reassured me dismissively. “Can you see it now?” I was somewhat irritated and replied, “No, my vision is blurry.” I didn’t want to admit that I had indeed seen it. I thought it was uncanny that when challenged to hear God for the improbable, a car passed with a license plate that screamed, “SKEPTIC!” God’s gavel seemed to have come down. It was as if God was sending me a message. I was convicted of my unbelief, but in retrospect, Peggy’s challenge to me to hear God and confront my doubts and unbelief, even though it seemed illogical, caused me to stretch.

Trusting God’s Guidance

“Bill, He loves you so much that He sent this very car and license plate at this precise moment to stretch you and communicate His greatness and love for you. Even in the smallest things, He wants you to be amazed by Him and his devotion toward us. He loves you so much.” This was a whole new experience of pressing in and listening to God. 

“Wanna’ play, now?” Peggy asked, her tone hopeful and encouraging. I nodded in agreement and without much thought, exclaimed, “298!” Yet, doubts crept in, questioning whether it was from God or simply my own imagination. Challenged that I might be wrong, I retracted 298 and changed it to 289. 

Peggy was taking flowing in God seriously. “So, which is it, 289 or 298?” she asked, prompting me to choose. Feeling uncertain, I wavered and reverted to my initial answer of 298. She remained silent momentarily, then responded, “It’s not the same number I got, but I heard God say to trust your exit number.”  Incredulously, I thought, trust me?  Yeah, right. God must have a sense of humor. 

It was decided, then, that we would take exit 298. And so began our adventure flowing in God in unity and trust. 

Find out what exit 298 has in store. Continue reading “Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 2

Copyright 2020
by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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