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Heeding God's Voice

By Rev. Lynette Hagin

Oklahoma has what many refer to as “storm season.” We often hear the local warning siren, alerting us to impending storms in the area. These storms can quickly evolve into tornadoes that destroy everything in their path.


I’m no stranger to storms. I still remember my mother taking me as a young child to our neighbor’s storm cellar every time a storm arose. Even if the storm struck in the middle of the night, my mom would wake me up and take me—sometimes in heavy rain—to find shelter in the cellar built for that very purpose.


I’m reminded of the fierce storm the Apostle Paul faced in Acts chapter 27. Paul was a prisoner aboard a certain ship that was scheduled to set sail. Because it was a time of year when sailing was dangerous, Paul warned those in command not to set sail, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives” (Acts 27:10). However, the centurion refused to listen to Paul’s advice and continued with the voyage.


A storm indeed arose and the captain and crew began to throw everything overboard in an effort to save the ship. The storm became so treacherous that all hope of being saved was abandoned. Paul came forward and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss. But [even] now I beg you be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship. For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship. And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you” (Acts 27:21–24, Amplified).


God often warns His children of impending danger, but too many of us fail to heed His warnings. We would be wise to listen and obey.


When I was a teenager, my friend and I wanted to drive from my home in Texas to her relatives’ home in Oklahoma. My father did not want me to go. After I begged him to relent, he reluctantly gave his permission. On the way to Oklahoma, my friend and I encountered a terrible storm. The storm grew so intense that we could not even see the road. Carefully, we pulled over to what we hoped was the side of the road, as large balls of hail beat against the car. I literally thought that I was going to die.


I did some quick repenting for not listening to my father. Although my friend and I arrived safely at our destination, I learned a good lesson. I should have listened to and obeyed my father—who obviously had been troubled in his spirit about the trip. Since that experience, if I ever feel a check in my spirit when traveling, I always look to the Lord for His direction concerning the matter.


God is concerned about our physical safety. It is important that we claim His promises on a daily basis. I always claim Psalm 91 for my family: “There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you, to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]” (vv. 10–11 Amplified).


I have witnessed the protecting power of God on many occasions. One day we actually heard the sound of a tornado passing over our house. Because we had claimed God’s promise of protection for our home, the tornado passed over us and touched down a mile away. Several times, the Lord has protected us from car accidents. Once, as I prepared to go out of town, something on the inside of me told me to wait. I ended up leaving an hour later than I had intended. While on my trip, I drove into a traffic jam, and as I came upon the cause of the jam—a bad accident, I realized that if I had left home when I had intended, I could have been the one in that accident!


I encourage you to call upon the protecting power of God. Then be sensitive to His voice, and He will warn you of things to come. If you sense a check in your spirit about something, heed that warning. It pays to listen to the voice of the Lord.