On Wondering If That Whisper You Heard Is Really Him?
By Kate Berkey
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Kate's Story
I used to wonder and worry if I was really hearing the Lord’s voice. These days, I don’t feel as anxious about it.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s incredibly important to align ourselves with the Father and know what His voice sounds like. Too often, other voices deceive us.
For me, though, this overanalyzing comes in a moment of fear. Usually it happens when the Lord is asking me to step out, to talk to someone, to show unexpected love and kindness to another. Isn’t it wild to question or wonder at the sound of His voice in these moments?
In my daily work, I visit many refugees and immigrants on the north side of Chicago. I’m not a social worker, although sometimes I get mistaken for one. I’m just one of a small team of people working with Devon Oasis Ministry. Through building relationships with others, my team and I try to meet the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of our neighborhood. This means home visits and homework help and a dozen things in between.
A few weeks ago, after an already full day, I started the long walk home after visiting a family, but as I took each step, another family came into my mind’s focus. They are one I served week after week for a year. I visited them and helped the kids with homework. This relationship was a slow build that only blossomed after months of consistency, intentionality, and persistence.
After a year, things went silent. In my highly transient neighborhood, this isn’t unique, but I still felt a sense of loss. For months, I tried to connect with this family. I called their phone. I knocked on their door, but no luck.
So on this night, when I heard the Lord say, “Knock on their door again,” I shrugged it off.
Maybe it wasn’t His voice.
Maybe it was my own.
But in a very low risk circumstance like this, though, did it really matter if it was His or mine?
I think what mattered more was my fear of the unknown and the tiredness tugging me home.
It’s in situations such as this that I think of this verse from Hebrews 3:15, “As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”
On that night, I turned around and walked to their home—a small apartment in a classic Chicago three-flat. Honestly, I did not know if they still lived there, but if the Lord had asked me to knock on their door, I would do it and trust Him with the outcome.
After knocking a few times, a stranger answered the door, and I fumbled around awkwardly with my words, speaking English to a woman who knew very little. Rather embarrassed, I apologized profusely and said goodbye.
On my walk home, I wondered what all of that was for. Did the Lord really ask me to knock on that door? Why had He done that? Did I hear Him wrong?
The Lord’s response was so simple. “You said yes,” I heard Him say to my soul. “You were faithful even when you weren’t sure. And you were faithful to care for a family I love.”
That night did not yield a beautiful reunion story. It was actually a tale my team and I laughed at the next day.
But on a much deeper level, it was a moment of hearing the Lord’s voice and choosing to say yes, even in uncertainty.
Friends, sometimes it's hard to hear His voice, or we can wonder who we’re actually hearing.
We crave certainty, and we forget that the Lord’s voice usually comes with a sense of mystery and wonder.
He is God, after all.
So when we hear His voice, let’s not harden our hearts. Let’s not get stuck in overanalyzing. May we seek Him, stay close to His heart, and say yes even if we feel a bit of uncertainty.
Photo credit: Unsplash, Roberto Nickson.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest essay series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE resource, A Listening Guide + Prayer Map, which walks you through four heart postures to help you learn to hear His voice in prayer. This guide is a tool to listen for Him differently, and capture your prayer time in a new way, helping you know Him deeper and hear Him louder.
Learn more about each posture:
1 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
2 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
3 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
4 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Kate Berkey is a writer, speaker, and missionary living in Chicago where she works with refugees and immigrants with Devon Oasis Ministry. She is passionate about helping people, especially women, discover the heart of the Father and live courageously!
She and her co-author recently published their first book, A Place Called Braverly: A dare to live courageously, dream boldly, and influence bravery. Kate is all about family and deeply desires to help others find belonging in the family of the Kingdom of God. More than anything, she longs to walk women home to the heart of the Father—their creator and sustainer. Kate is a lover of being on the water, running on Lakefront Trail, and gathering dear friends around the table.