“I picked it up out of curiosity and I couldn’t put it down.”–Eugene Peterson
About this book: (from the publisher) Christians are comfortable saying that Christianity is about a relationship with God. Yet many might also say that they sense little meaningful relationship with God in their own lives. After all, the foundation of good relationship is communication—but conversation with God often seems to go only one way. We may sing of walking and talking with God in the garden, His voice falling on our ears, but few have heard that beloved voice themselves.
Sam Williamson acknowledges the fundamental human longing to hear God’s voice and offers a hopeful supposition: God is always speaking—we’ve just never been taught how to recognize His voice. Williamson handles this potentially heady topic with his characteristic straightforwardness and leavening humor. This book deftly bridges the gap between solid biblical theology and practical application, addressing topics such as how to truly pray without ceasing, how to brainstorm with God, how to navigate our emotions, how to answer God’s questions, and how to hear God’s voice for others.
Hearing God in Conversation offers simple, step-by-step lessons on how to hear God. Williamson begins with Scripture meditation. He then expands the practice of listening for that voice everywhere—in the checkout line, on the job, in a movie theater, and even in silence. From there, he demonstrates how to hear God’s guidance when making any decision. By the end, readers’ eyes and ears will be opened to the limitless methods through which God speaks.
About the author: Sam Williamson is the founding director of Beliefs of the Heart and the author of Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids? He and his wife Carla live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sam regularly posts on beliefsoftheheart.com.
Genre: Non-fiction/Religion/Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
Reminds me of: Surprised by the Voice of God by John S. Deere
[Tweet “Long to hear God’s voice in everyday convo? @HeartBeliefs engaging book shows you how @KregelBooks”]
Reflection: For most books I read for review, I keep paper and pencil handy so I can jot notes as I go along. Not so this time — not because the book isn’t noteworthy, but because I found it so engrossing, I couldn’t be bothered with the interruption.
Williamson’s to-the-point book is solidly grounded in Scripture, augmented by the wisdom of respected Christian leaders, both contemporary and historical, and leavened with personal anecdotes. In its pages I found encouragement as well as practical help that has equipped me to practice what Williamson preaches. Two of my favorite chapters were “Brainstorming with God” and “Cultivating a Holy Curiosity;” as a writer and a mom, I found the former particularly useful, and the latter has helped me understand how my emotions can open up new avenues for hearing God’s voice.
Like Randy Alcorn in his book Happiness, Williamson approaches a potentially controversial subject with respect, addressing issues piece by piece, layer by layer — methodically but not boringly. (His two appendices — “Answers to Arguments,” and “Questionable and Excessive Practices” — are also very helpful in addressing stray concerns.) He then builds upward on the premise that hearing God’s voice regularly, everywhere, is normal for believers who are intent on pursuing meaningful, give-and-take relationship with God.
In an effort, perhaps, to stand apart from the crowd, many contemporary writers have an over-the-top, trying-too-hard style, but I did not find that the case here. Instead, Sam Williamson’s style is engaging and authentic in a way that met me right where I am, not where I think I ought to be. As I read his book, I thought more than once how pleasant it would be to sit across from him at table and enjoy a long and far-ranging conversation about God and His people, and yes, recognizing God’s voice when it speaks.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Have you ever tried brainstorming with God? How did it go?