Our “Have You Heard the Voice?” survey generates a huge response from readers and staff.
Posted in , Oct 27, 2016
In the October/November issue of Mysterious Ways, we published a survey asking readers if they ever heard “The Voice,” that insistent, otherworldly form of communication that many believe comes directly from God. (If you haven’t responded yet, you can do so here. We had no idea what the response would be. Would it be a waste of space in our pages, or help us connect with our readership and learn something about their personal faith?
The response blew away even our most optimistic expectations. We’ve received thousands of responses online and through the mail. Editor Diana Aydin told me that the flood of envelopes reminded her of the scene in Miracle on 34th Street, when the post office delivers bags and bags of mail to Santa Claus. In the Mysterious Ways offices, it truly did feel like Christmas morning.
Our readers were excited to share their experiences. Ann Logan of St. Louis, Missouri, wrote in, “Often the right question isn’t asked of me on surveys…But one night, late, I was so weary and in pain in bed, when I distinctly heard from a large crucifix I have on my wall, the words, ‘I will look after you.’ It’s this incident that my answers refer to.”
Another reader, May, wrote that God often tells her names of people to pray for—sometimes people she doesn’t even know. “I cannot rest until I start praying for who he wants. I do not always tell people because they smirk. But if I’m in a group talking about this, I share. We try to figure out who it was specifically that God wanted me to pray for.”
Many of you found it impossible to choose just one answer to each question. Reader Karen Foster of Chico, California, wrote, “For those of us who have truly heard God’s voice, your survey is too narrow to answer accurately by circling one option.” Connie Noragon of Shofield, Wisconsin felt the same way: “There is no specific time to hear God’s voice since he is a constant in my life… Sometimes it is a prompting to ‘do it this way’ or ‘at this time.’ Other times a phrase on TV will answer an ongoing problem. That’s when I usually say, ‘Ok, God, I get it!”
Janet Gedris of Comstock Park, Michigan, wrote, “I must admit that I am very suspicious of people who claim to hear God’s voice on a regular basis… In my personal life I have been blessed to have heard an audible voice on three different occasions, although I’m not sure if it was God… The first time, I was napping and my name was called out to wake me up in time to pick up my daughter from school. The second time, I was in church and prayed for my mother to be baptized. I clearly heard, ‘Your request is already granted.’ Three months later, my mother joined the Lutheran church and was baptized. The third time, I was in the hospital experiencing pain in my back. I clearly heard a gentle voice say, ‘Jesus’ back hurt worse than this!’”
Our administrative assistant Corlette Ruffin gave us an example of what happens when one doesn’t listen to that insistent voice. One evening, she was in bed when a friend called to ask for a ride to work. Corlette grabbed her keys and—still in her PJs—hopped in her car. She heard a voice shout, “Put on some clothes!” but she ignored it. After all, it would be a short trip, and she’d stay in the car. Well, halfway there, her car hit a pothole and blew a tire. A kind stranger pulled over to help. “The worst bag lady would have looked red-carpet-ready compared to what I looked like,” Corlette said. “I just kept thinking back, I really should have listened to the Lord!”
Keep those stories coming! And answer our survey! It’s okay if you haven’t heard that voice, or are unsure—you’re not alone. We hope that the answers we uncover will help us all learn how to keep our ears open.