“What is God saying to me?” – Ian Wilson

“What is God saying to me?” – Ian Wilson

How often do we find ourselves asking, “what is God saying to me?” or “what does God want me to do?” How often does it also seem that God chooses these particular times to remain absolutely, annoyingly silent?

However, what if we start with a perspective that God’s communication and activity is always happening, or ever-present. Tilden Edwards describes it as being “[h]idden within and around us …, welling up in different, often surprising ways and times to guide us: as a still small voice, as cataclysmic assurance, or as a reasoned inference from the consolations and desolations of our lives.” ie, everywhere! David Benner takes us further suggesting that God is constantly communicating, and our task is to increase our sensitivity to that communication and activity.

So what? 

I’m glad you asked!

Believing that God is always communicating and acting provides the possibility for any experience to have what, William Barry calls a religious dimension, or, an opportunity to encounter with God. The ultimate implication here is that if we believe that God is ever-present and active within creation, we can encounter and experience God in any or all of our life experiences!  Think about that for a moment.

This means that rather than waiting for our personal lightning bolt, burning bush, talking donkey or mysterious finger writing on the wall, there is always the opportunity to be on the lookout for where God is already acting, leading, or opening new paths for us. The possibilities become endless.

However, even if we do, what if it’s still not clear what God wants me to do?

One way of thinking about this is to see the religious dimension of any experience as an invitation to come to God “with all of our questions, with all that we are, and with all that we have … in trust and confidence,” and to surrender to God’s love and to follow Christ. This might mean asking ourselves questions like; What does this experience show me about ways I could trust God more? What does this experience help me see that might need to be surrendered to God? What opportunities to follow or be Christ-like does this situation give me?

Of course the way this might look for each of us is as individual as we are. What it does give us is something to look for when God seems to have gone silent. That is, to think about our life, any and all of our experiences, and ask ourselves the question: “Where, in this particular situation or experience, is there an opportunity for me to choose to trust in and surrender to God’s love and to follow Christ?’ You might find that God has ‘said’ plenty!


 1 Edwards, Spiritual Friend, 58.

2  Benner, Sacred Companions, 108.

3  Barry, Spiritual Direction and the Encounter with God, 25.

4  Barry, Spiritual Direction and the Encounter with God, 26. Barry’s argument draws from Smith’s explanation that experience can be “understood as … the intersection of  something encountered and a being capable of  having the encounter, apprehending it, and feeling itself in the encounter…” Smith, Experience and God, 24.