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When God Speaks to Us in Unexpected Ways

Divine guidance often comes at unlikely times and places. Pay attention.

When God speaks in unexpected ways
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It was one of the first stories I ever worked on as an editor at Guideposts. A waitress walking home late at night hears someone following her. Thieves? Troublemakers? No matter how fast she went, she couldn’t outrun them. It was then she heard a voice: “Eat the chicken!”

What? Why? She had a bag of leftover chicken from that night’s serving. But why eat it now? She was running for her life. Still, she opened the sack and the smell of the meat attracted a pair of dogs who safely accompanied her home. Eat the chicken? It was just the right message. 

Over the years we’ve featured countless stories that illustrate how God can speak to us in the most unexpected ways. Here are just a few examples.

Wherever you go, provisions will follow. 
Marty Via and his wife and two kids lived in Ohio where he worked in construction until an accident halted his career. His pastor gave him a job helping out at a benevolence mission and suggested that maybe he had a calling to the ministry.

That didn’t seem right to Marty. But as he was praying, a town he’d never heard of came to him. Waycross, Georgia. His wife got the same message. His kids did too. As outlandish as it seemed, they emptied their house, rented a moving van and drove 18 hours straight to Waycross.

What on earth were they supposed to do there? It hardly seemed alluring, a smattering of empty storefronts and rundown houses. As hard as they looked, neither Marty nor his wife Dale could find jobs there. Nothing. Waycross? What was God thinking? It seemed like a dead end.

One sweltering summer night—no air conditioning in their cheap rental—Marty woke up at 3:00 and prayed for guidance. It came to him. He would start a benevolence mission here, providing food and clothes to the needy. The names of the local pastors and congregations came to him. He found a new purpose and calling. In a place he’d never heard of before. Waycross.

Look to Scripture for understanding. 
Sue Likkel had such terrible pain in her foot she had to hobble around on crutches. Couldn’t run errands, couldn’t help out at home.

The doctor said it was a broken toe and then, even more worrisome, a nerve that ran from her spine down to her leg. Months went by. She felt so helpless she stopped praying, the fear of what was happening to her body taking over her life.

One night she cried out to God and the message came: “My child. Get up.” She got up from bed, puzzled. The next morning, she called the doctor’s office. The nurse who answered urged her to look for healing power in the Bible. 

Sue turned to Scripture, and her eye landed on one verse: “Don’t be afraid. Just believe, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50). The she glanced up the page saw the startling words, “My child, get up!” the message God had given her.

That was turnaround moment. At once the pain disappeared. The doctor was as startled as she was. She was healed.

Trust yourself.
God gave us all unique gifts. To use them we need to trust ourselves. 

Coila Evans dreamed of being an artist. She loved to sketch and paint from the youngest age, but her dreams seemed dashed when the Dallas high school for visual arts didn’t grant her acceptance.

She became a hair colorist and massage therapist instead, work she greatly enjoyed. Still, there was that voice that she couldn’t ignore. She was meant to be an artist.

She picked up her brushes and began to paint again, selling a few things here and there. Then she read of an artist residency sponsored by a gallery in New York. She yearned to apply. If she could only get enough money to fly there and stay for a while.

“Paint 50 paints in 50 days.” That was the message and she followed it enthusiastically, rigorously day after day, selling her work, getting more attention.

Until she came to painting number 32. She was stuck. Was her dream silly? Did she have any talent at all? Had that voice just been a phantom calling? Was it time to quit?

No, because quitting on art would mean quitting on God. She finished the 50 paintings, sold them all and her dream trip came through. 

Trust yourself. Give up your fears. Become who you were always meant to be. Even if you haven’t heard an unexpected voice.

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