• Marnie Hammar

Can I Expect to Hear God?

Updated: May 5



We were having our very orange-y hardwood floors redone. If you’ve done it, you know, it’s a whole thing. I stood there, holding a crockpot and a food processor as I emptied the pantry, while my man unloaded couch cushions and separated pieces of our sectional, both of us steaming. The contents of our entire first floor were sprinkled across bedrooms, garage, and basement, occupying creative crevices and crannies. As we littered our basement with end tables, coats, baking supplies and cereal boxes, we kept getting irritated with each other.


In our 25 years of marriage, we’ve successfully dismantled two kitchens, restored a basement after it flooded with sewage (still scarred from that), and tackled countless big and small improvement projects. But for some reason, this particular chapter of home renovation came with conflict.


It’s one thing to say the words, “We have to empty our entire first floor.”

It’s a whole ‘nother to decide exactly how that will happen.


Once we paused and finally talked through it, we realized that we had very different expectations on how this should go:


His strategy: Clear it all, room by room, as quickly as possible.

My strategy: Move things out in waves, based on frequency of usage, saving most used/needed for last.


I’m sure you see the problem. (Perhaps you also see who was right, but that’s beside the point.) How we had not figured that out sooner is still beyond me. But once we defined our expectations, we could step back to compare them, and agree this wasn’t working.

Undefined expectations can keep us from connecting with each other. The same conflict that comes with undefined expectations can also keep us from connecting with God.


I wonder how many undefined expectations we carry with us when we seek to connect with God?


For a long time, I didn’t know I needed to seek God [If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?] and I didn’t know that even I could hear Him [Will God Speak, Even to Me?].


Once I knew that He would speak to me, then I had to move my heart to a place where I would dare to expect to hear Him. That felt like a leap, especially when in so many other areas of my life, I’d learned to lower my expectations. How many times had expecting too much of others led to disappointment and hurt? Lowering my expectations seemed to help me love them better.


I didn’t realize that I’d transferred that mindset to how I connected with God, too. Would daring to expect to hear Him disappoint me?


But my too-low expectations didn’t match what I read in His word. What about the verses that promise more than I expected? As I moved closer to Him, I learned that, as a daughter of the King, I can expect more from my God:


I can expect that He will welcome me.

  • "Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence." (Ephesians 3:12)

  • "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." (Hebrews 4:16)

I can expect that He will meet me.

  • "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.' ” (John 14:23)

  • "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8)

I can expect that He will speak to me.

  • "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (Rev 3:20)

In holding those expectations, I must be mindful to not confuse expecting with demanding. I cannot demand anything from God. I can’t demand outcomes. I can’t demand His timing. And I can’t demand to hear Him when I want to, in the way I want to.


But can I dare to expect more from God than I was? Yes.


The faith to expect God to draw near changes how I approach Him. When I expect He will welcome me, meet me, and speak to me, in His way and in His timing, I am no longer bound by the other, wrongly-formed expectations I might have held.


Instead, now when I approach Him, it's far more simple: I expect to hear Him. And He is faithful to draw near.

This post is the third in a series describing five different postures to hear God louder. This third posture of belief, that we can expect to hear Him, is a building block for knowing Him deeper and hearing Him louder. To know more about drawing closer to Him, watch for the posts on the remaining postures.


The five postures:

1 | Seek: I believe that when I seek Him, I will find Him.

2 | Know: I know that God still speaks to us.

3 | Expect: I expect that I will hear Him.

4 | Listen: I commit to creating time and space to listen for His voice.

5 | Connect: I believe that when I listen for Him, I will connect with Him.


If you are interested in spending more time learning about these five postures, I've compiled a FREE five-day devotional and guided journal called, "Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder." Subscribe here to receive a link to your FREE copy -- and you'll also receive notifications of future posts.

Read the other posts in this series:

Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?

Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?


For Reflection


Posture Three | Expect: I expect that I will hear Him.


Promises:

  • “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)

  • “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

  • “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Prayerful Practice:

  • Look up the promises above. Read what comes before and after each verse.

  • Approach your prayer time with a posture of expectation: Expect that you will hear from God. God speaks in a variety of ways, including the Word, prayer, people and circumstances (Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God). Talk with God about each of the ways that He speaks to us.

  • At times, God may not speak to us right away. We cannot demand to hear Him. But we can expect that He will speak to us, and wait on Him to do so.

  • Be honest with God if there is a way you are less experienced or comfortable with hearing Him, and ask Him for discernment and to make His voice clear.

  • Watch for how He might choose to confirm what He speaks the first time through a second way.

Ponder:

  • Do you expect to hear Him when you spend time with Him?

  • If you don’t expect to hear Him, read the promises above and compare them with reasons you may not expect to hear Him.

  • Have you considered what your expectations of God might be? Perhaps they are too low? Or perhaps you've been discouraged by expectations you've unknowingly carried?

  • Is it possible to expect to meet with and hear from God without having expectations of or for the outcome or answers He gives? Ask God to help you separate those two kinds of expectations. How can you expect to meet with and hear Him without expecting certain results?

To read more about meeting with God and seeking Him:

Five Ways to Combat Christian Complacency

Discerning the Voice of God: A Journey of Discovering that He Speaks

Hear Him Louder Essay Series


Photo credit: Beata Ratuszniak, Unsplash.

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