For three years we had been planning to build our forever home in my husband’s hometown. It all changed in a matter of about a week. Did I hear God wrong?
It’s only natural to ask this question, “Did I hear God wrong?” when things seem like God is leading in one direction and then something doesn’t go like we had anticipated. In fact even as we’ve shared our story with friends and family over the months following, I’m sure the question crossed their minds; “Did they hear God wrong for all of those years?”
After three years of hitting what felt like setback after setback, my husband and I were determined. One night after considering all that we had endured, we felt like we needed to re–evaluate. Do we continue? After praying and seeking the Lord for a few days, both of us didn’t really feel God leading one way or another. So, we decided to continue moving forward and build. That was it. No more excuses or delays and no more questioning our next steps. And then…a week later, both my husband and I independently of one another sensed God leading us to buy a home. Wait? What?
Did I Hear God Wrong?
Maybe we were wrong for all three years? Honestly, I’m certain we were right where God wanted us to be. When I make comments like this, often I get stern questions like, “How did you come to that conclusion?” Followed shortly by, “And how do you know you didn’t hear God wrong?” or “How did you know it was God’s voice?”.
How did we know it was God’s voice?
There are a number of ways that individuals describe how they hear God. For me and my husband we have grown a lot over the years in how we sense and know God’s leading. In some ways we hear God similarly—and in other ways God’s leading shows up very differently. How did we know God’s leading this time?
We both sensed hearing God’s voice leading us in the same direction even when it was contrary to our strong decision the previous week. In more tangible ways, both of us had experiences that reiterated this leading.
For my husband, he immediately felt increased pressure at his work demanding that he spend more time at the workplace.
Likewise, I experienced increased stress at home. It quickly became apparent to me that I simply could not handle the long hours of being mom. The idea of having my husband absent from our family most of the time was unsettling.
We were not at peace.
Some may respond to this and say, “That was just a testing of your decision.” And that could be true, but there was something else that we did a couple weeks before our decision that might give greater insight that this wasn’t a test.
A Different Way to Hear God’s Voice
At the prompting of our church leadership, a few weeks prior to our decision we decided to try a different way to hear God’s voice. We decided to cast lots. It’s a practice that our church at the time had used to select deacons and elders.
Our leadership at the time had described casting lots as a biblical way to make a decision. It is something they suggested using specifically in situations when you have prayed about what to do and you’re literally stuck because you have some very good options. The church and lead pastor specifically, taught that it was a great option to do—in prayer and faith—to place all options before the Lord because it’s simply not clear what you should do.
For three years we had been praying and laboring over building a home. Casting lots wasn’t something that we just decided to do because it sounded like a good idea. It was something we chose to do because we had been seeking the Lord for a long time and we felt stuck, and it was recommended by our church leadership at the time.
Did We Hear God Wrong, Casting Lots?
The day we decided to cast lots was very intentional and we had been prayerful several days leading up to it. There were four options for us.
- Buy and Sell
- Buy and Keep
- Renovate Our Garage
We had never really sensed that we should sell our current property because it was family property. Yet, it was an option that we felt like we needed to include. After my husband got home from work and we had eaten dinner together, we sat down and cast lots. Here’s what happened when we cast lots to hear God’s voice.
The first lot we drew was Buy and Keep.
We were surprised. Honestly, we didn’t even think it was possible for us to do it as an option. In our disbelief we both looked at each other and said, “Best out of 5?” This was our first time casting lots, so we thought doing best of of 5 would confirm things for us more.
Next we drew Build, then we drew Renovate Garage.
At this point we were confused, again, but it didn’t really cross our minds if we heard God wrong or not. We were just confused.
Casting Lots and the Role of the Holy Spirit
In hindsight, we likely will never cast lots again—based on our experience—and also because we’ve received more clarity about casting lots from reading His Word and through another pastor’s wisdom (we’ve since been attending a different church). With that being said, why am I sharing our story about casting lots in order to hear God, when instead of receiving more clarity, we became more confused?
Because this story about casting lots reveals something much better to help us hear God.
Remember when I said we received insight that proved our unsettled peace wasn’t just a test? Well that insight didn’t really come about because we got an answer when we casted lots. Please understand, the Lord still used that time in our life, but as we’ve continued to dig deeper into scripture about casting lots, we’ve since been reminded that casting lots actually ceased after Acts 2 in the New Testament. And there’s a reason that we never really hear about casting lots again. We don’t need to use casting lots because we have something much better to help us hear God and know He is leading us. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When we took the time to cast lots so we could hear God more clearly, we actually became confused.
Could it be that we were confused after casting lots because it was competing with the Holy Spirit—God’s gift to us specifically to hear from Him?
It’s hard to say. In the end we simply stepped out in faith and decided to just build, trusting the Holy Spirit’s leading. All along we knew with certainty that God would direct us or redirect us, because God tells us in His Word. Here’s a verse that specifically describes the Holy Spirit’s role in this way.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13, ESV)
Christianity Today also has described several ways that the Holy Spirit’s Role is a great gift for us as Christians, and likewise we can trust that He will in fact guide us into all truth.
And this is the main point of everything that I’m sharing today with you.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God will lead you as you seek Him and let the Holy Spirit guide you. And along the way God gives you several tangible ways to confirm that you are actually hearing God correctly and following Him in obedience. What are they?
3 Tangible Ways to Know It’s God Leading You
When you’re making a decision it can often be challenging to know if you hear God clearly. Here are three very tangible ways we knew God was leading us and we didn’t question if we heard God wrong or not.
Always when you make a decision or sense God’s leading, you will feel peace about it.
As a married couple, my husband and I were in agreement in how God was leading. It was even more confirmed when we both sensed God’s leading independently of one another. What if you’re not married? This is where #3 definitely is something that you’ll find helpful.
- Godly Counsel.
Seek out godly wisdom from other believers you know and trust that seek God in prayer and in His Word. If these believers are seeking the Lord, they will speak into your life with encouragement—and if they sense that you are making decisions that are contrary to God’s leading based on His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit.
During our three years of waiting, several godly individuals were praying for us. Our church was a huge support during that time and so was the teaching from our pastor. But even after this experience, God has continued to teach us more and more about what it means to hear God.
From a practical perspective, we can hear god today through the benefits of reading the Bible daily, by prayer, through other believers, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us.
Did I Hear God Wrong? Not If You Seek Him
In closing, you don’t have to question if you heard God wrong, if you are seeking Him. Even if you make a mistake, God will never leave you. If your heart truly is to do His will, He will guide you. He loves to confirm things for you and He will show you, “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
There are circumstances where God will lead you and it won’t make sense at the time. In fact when we decided to Buy and Keep we had no idea how that was going to work. We simply could not financially afford it—and today I’m sitting in our new house and we still own our second property. When God leads, follow in faith. He will do it.
Additionally, when God leads you, sometimes it won’t make sense to others. Even some believers will question you and your motives. I’ve had this happen countless times in my life. Like the time I was single and I left a job without having a job. Yep, I did that.
In closing, I don’t have to question if I heard God wrong and you don’t have to either! If you are seeking God first, you can be confident that God will direct your steps. Here’s another hearing from God scripture verse that confirms this:
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Don’t trust in your own understanding and He will lead you. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
If you have not created a daily habit of reading God’s Word, grab the Daily Bible Reading Quick Start Guide, to help you in hearing God more clearly every single day.