“Dad, I heard a God-whisper this morning,” my daughter emailed. “I found a rescue dog on Pet-Finder’s website. I heard a whisper in my heart telling me, ‘This dog’s for you.’”
So began the tale of Bailey, who wandered into our lives four weeks ago. At nine months, Bailey’s young life has been marred with hardship. She was found abandoned on a lonely road in Arkansas. When no one claimed her, she lived for two months in an over-crowded, under-staffed shelter. Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue brought her to Michigan to live with a foster home until she was adopted.
The first time I met Bailey, her chocolate eyes were filled with deep sadness. But a soft gleam of light beyond the pain spoke of her resilience and compassion.
We welcomed Bailey into our home, but she wasn’t used to having a safe, loving family. She’s learning the human language of love. Meanwhile, we’re discovering how dogs express needs and emotions.
Bailey cowers when I approach her with a stance that’s too aggressive. I have to lower to my knees and offer the soft palm of my hand before she’ll trust me to pet her. When she stands by the front door and wags her tail, she tells me she has to go potty.
Learning God’s Language
It’s a lot like our relationship with God, I pondered as Bailey rested her head on my lap during morning prayer time. I’m learning to understand God’s silent language, and he’s using amazing grace to communicate with me through the language of my heart. He’s teaching me how he expresses Divine Love.
Like Bailey, who’s learning to trust me, I used to cower before God when I thought the Creator was a grumpy old wizard ready to slap me upside the head when I screwed up. Fortunately, I’ve learned my image of God was all wrong. God is love, plain and simple. And as I allow the Creator to gently lean into me, we’ve begun a love affair beyond my wildest imagination.
Saint John of the Cross reminds us that God’s first language is silence. And so, to hear God’s voice—the God-whisper my daughter spoke about—I have to create quiet times in my life to listen.
In the morning, Bailey and I sit on the couch in my den. The quiet soothes my racing mind. Bailey’s soft breath warms my heart. The scent of a vanilla candle relaxes me as I draw awareness to God’s presence.
I sometimes hear God whisper, “I love you.” I often bring my problems and concerns to him. He understands, offers answers, and guides me. When the day’s busyness becomes overwhelming, I’m learning to stop whatever I’m doing, take a heart-pause, and reconnect with the silent voice of the Divine.
Tania Harris, an Australian pastor who leads God Conversations, a global ministry that equips people to recognize and respond to God’s voice, says with practice, talking and listening to God can become a normal part of our relationship with the Creator. In her internet course called “Heard from God Lately?” Tania teaches that the Creator of the Universe, the One who made the skies and stars, desires to communicate with us. The relationship with the Divine is meant to be a two-way conversation. Jesus promised his people could hear his voice and follow it (John 10:27).
Like God, Bailey trails me wherever I go. I often stare into her brown eyes and ask if she is God. When I do, Bailey lick licks my face. I hear her tell me in dog language, “I’m not God. I’m God’s whisper. I’m one of the many ways God reveals Divine Love.”
Set aside time each day for silence.
When you do, I bet you’ll hear God’s Whispers.
He promised you could.
brian j plachta