He Prefers to Speak Softly


“Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel replied, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening!’” (1 Sam. 3:10, NET).

Imagine this story out of 1 Samuel taking place in your own home. It did, in mine. The events were nearly identical. Just insert my daughter Ester’s name in place of Samuel’s, and you pretty much have the interaction that happened between the two of us:

Ester (coming into my study): “Yes, Mom?”

Me: “I didn’t call you, honey.”

Ester: “Oh. But I heard you!”

Me: “I promise. I didn’t.”

Repeat the above several times. Then:

Ester (coming in again): “Yes, Mom?”

Me (suddenly understanding): “Sweetie, you know what, I think it’s Jesus calling you. Next time say, ‘Yes Jesus? I’m listening.’”

So she did. And they had a great conversation. She was only ten years old!

She’s fifteen now. Ever since that time, she often hears God speaking to her in an audible voice.

Must be nice.

I have, over the years, been a bit envious at times of people that get to hear Him like that. I, personally, have not once heard Him speak audibly. He never even speaks loudly inside my spirit. It’s always soft and subtle.

However, I went through a season where He trained me to think differently about this subject. His dialogue with me on it went something like this:

Him: “Jennifer, when do you raise your voice with your children?”

Me: “When they’re not listening. To get their attention.”

Him: “Do you prefer to speak to them that way?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Neither do I. And you know what? I don’t need to raise My voice with you. You are already listening. You are hungry for Me. When I speak to you in the softest of tones, I deeply cherish the way you lean in to listen. It utterly delights My soul that you are so tuned into Me. Your longing to hear Me steals My heart away. Never give place to thoughts of wishing it were different. You have chosen the best way.”

Around that same time, He gave me this verse: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Ps. 32:8, NKJV).

With this word, He is promising to guide us with His eye. What does that mean? Well, do you have someone in your life that you are so close to, that with just a look from their eye, you know what they are communicating? That’s what He means. He is promising a relationship that close with us… if we want it enough to pursue it passionately.

How He longs for it to be so! Every day of our lives, Daddy God will keep calling out our name. Over and over and over again. That moment I was telling you about with Ester, I wasn’t quick to recognize what was happening. I think Ester heard Him calling her close to ten times before she responded. Isn’t He wonderful, that He keeps on calling? Sadly, this verse aptly describes what He experiences sometimes:

“All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people…” (Isa. 65:2, NIV).

Oh, that we wouldn’t keep Him waiting when He calls our name! That we would run right into His outstretched arms!

That same beautiful verse He gave me about guiding me with His eye is likewise followed by this one: “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” (Ps. 32:9, NKJV).

What a contrast! Being led intimately by eye contact with Him… or having as little relational understanding and sensitivity as a donkey. I know which one of those two extremes I long for.

Yes, Daddy will keep on calling us. So let’s be quick to respond. Let’s develop so much intimacy with Him, that He can guide us with one glance of His beautiful eyes. Let’s listen in so closely, that He can just whisper, and we will hear it and obey.

One more thought. If Holy Spirit does not speak to you in dramatic ways, be comforted. It very well might be because you’re already hungrily listening. If this is the case, rest assured, you have absolutely stolen His heart.


What is your favorite way to hear from God?