This week we look back to Pastor Priji’s conversation with Prophet Chethan Henry on hearing the voice of God and the significance of the seasons of silence.
Pastor Priji: When was the first time you heard the voice of God?
Pastor Chethan: My salvation is rooted in the hearing of God’s voice. My father- who was fifty seven- went blind. As he was the only working person in the family, our financial situation was at a down turn. Mom helped him. Spiritually, we were not connected to God. My dad went into depression and had a stroke. When I was five-six years of age, I was sexually molested, therefore leaving a lot of scars in my life. I heard His voice for the first time at the age of fourteen.
Pastor Priji: So, in the midst of this difficult circumstance, you heard the voice of God and you got saved?
Pastor Chethan: It was shocking that anything like that could happen to me. I hadn’t planned for it. I was actually contemplating suicide.
We were close to bankruptcy after eight surgeries trying to get dad’s eye sight back. There were no finances for my studies. I used to have nightmares. I was depressed. One day I was alone at home as mom went with dad to the hospital for an eye checkup. I knelt down near the living room divan and cried feeling hopeless at the way things were in our lives. A strong voice in my head told me to kill myself. I entertained these thoughts planning what to do next. Before trying to end my life, I thought of doing God a “favour”. I said, “God, I give You my life” meaning, I’m going to kill myself and give Him this good-for-nothing life throwing it back at His feet. That very moment I felt someone enter the solitary living room. I wanted to turn back and look who it was, but was too scared. With this presence, I heard a voice that sounded all around me and inside me- it was very scary. The voice said, “You can give me nothing. The life that you have is Mine”. That shook me to the core. When I say presence I do not mean feeling warm or getting goosebumps, I knew a Person entered the place.
Pastor Priji: Did anybody ever tell you that you could hear the voice of God or was it that moment of desperation and hunger that made you encounter that truth?
Pastor Chethan: No. Nobody told me I could hear the voice of God. In the church I was from, they didn’t teach us about supernatural encounters. I did not know of the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit. I only heard from Sunday School about Jesus- the Son of God Who loves and cares for me. And at that moment when I encountered Him, all I knew was that He loves me.
Pastor Priji: How can I be sensitive to God’s voice?
Pastor Chethan: That is an important question. You should know that God is speaking all the time. The Lover of your soul is always speaking.
Imagine you and your daughter Zahal are in a large room at opposite ends and the place is filled with people in between. When you call out to her, though the room is full, she would recognise daddy’s voice. One would say that it is easier for Zahal to hear when the room is empty, but the truth is, your voice will be recognised and heard the same in a crowd. It is the same with God. Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice”. He put an end to spiritual deafness. It is our responsibility to tune into that.
Pastor Priji: The more we spend time with Him getting familiar, the more we identify His voice even when life gets busy.
There is a popular belief that the voice of God is revealed to only anointed men or women of God in ministry. How much truth is in that?
Pastor Chethan: God calls Himself our Father and everyone of us being His children have been equipped, given spiritual ears, and it is a must for every believer, every sheep, to hear the voice of God. Some people are anointed for a certain time for a certain assignments and therefore may stand out from the rest. But the believer’s assignment to hear God’s voice is for always.
Going back to the earlier question about being sensitive to God’s voice in everyday life, we mustn’t over-spiritualize all our talks with God. It is not that God will speak only when we fast for a couple days or pray around the clock. Believing such things only builds barriers and makes us religious. Be open to hear His voice from anyone and anywhere. Know that He is God and you are His son/daughter. Be ready to hear His voice and to do all that He says in complete obedience. Be ready for whatever He speaks.
The most important prophetic voices of God I’ve heard is while in the midst of everyday chores of shaving or driving my car. The voice of the Lord is clear because my heart is rested. I am not performing anything. I am just myself- His son.
Pastor Priji: What are the barriers to hearing the voice of God?
Pastor Chethan: Depending too much on other people and ministry, you are not connecting to Him directly. You are connecting to Him through another source. God, the Father, is your source. God sends people when He wants to confirm something, but you do not have to run after other people to hear His voice when He wants to speak directly. We need to consciously pursue God. Cultivate discipline in your life to hear Him. For me it is meditating on His Word till the Holy Spirit speaks.
Pastor Priji: Yes, it is important to not only read the Word, but also pray.
What can someone do when they are going through a season when they do not hear the voice of God, as they used to do?
Pastor Chethan: I have gone through that too. As this is a relationship, it goes through its tough times too. Hannah prayed year after year praying and hearing nothing from God.
There are seasons when God remains silent on purpose. The silence of God is where he wants us to be in. It is in that silence that we come face to face with our humanity, when God brings us to the reality of our frailties. We need to put off certain things from us to enter the next season with Him. He reveals certain things so that we do not go into that season with that junk. God had an extraordinary thing planned for Hannah and in order to do that He had to deal with her such that she dedicates the blessing back to Him even before she gets it.
It is in the wilderness you feel the closest to God from a distance. You understand the heart of God from a distance, but He is still the closest. The foundation of trust is built in your heart. It reveals whether you serve God for what He can do or for Who He is. Is your relationship is based on Him being a Giver of things or in Him being your Everything? That is revealed in the silence of God. God will not give you the breakthrough unless you’re ready for it. We get ready for it in the silent seasons.
To connect with Prophet Chethan Henry, do visit the Website.
This podcast was originally posted on 26 December, 2015
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