I recently received a phone call from an unknown caller. At least that was the information caller ID told me. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, how are you doing?” asked the voice, congenially.
I paused hoping for recognition to dawn before I was put on the spot. Unfortunately it did not. Wanting to avoid an awkward pause, I replied, “Fine. How are you?”
“Very good,” was the reply. This was followed by a few seconds of silence. “Do you know who this is?” he asked.
I thought I was really close to making a connection but decided to be honest. He turned out to be a friend who lived a couple of streets over calling to ask me for a favor. Instead of suggesting that he brush up on his phone etiquette, I just grinned quietly and agreed to help him. It wasn’t the first time I had started a call like that.
Reflecting on that moment I thought how different the conversation would have been had my mom been on the other end of the phone call. To be honest, I doubt she could disguise her voice from me if she tried. I know her so well that I would have recognized her the moment she spoke. The more I thought about it, the more I was grateful I knew her so well.
Another voice I have come to cherish is that of the Holy Ghost. While I have gotten better at listening for Him, I’m sad to admit that there are still times my recognition is closer to the call from my friend. The difference, in this case, has nothing to do with etiquette unless it is on my part. Sometimes I am simply not listening. Sometimes I allow louder voices to crowd out what the spirit is trying to tell me.
I have learned from my own experience that I sense His voice more as feelings than actual words. The feelings I get are usually accompanied by thoughts or impressions so the communication is experienced in my heart and my mind. I have found this to be a very consistent pattern. If I don’t sense it in both places, it’s usually not the Holy Ghost.
One of the ways I have learned to recognize the Holy Ghost is by asking God for help. As the apostle James taught in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” I have prayed for guidance from my Father in Heaven and he has answered me through the power of the Holy Ghost. I have asked for spiritual guidance. I have also asked for help on issues at my work or at home. Because of His answers, I know He truly cares and is willing to help.
Sometimes His voice comes unsolicited, but it is always timely. I may not recognize it at first, but this is one case when the pause that follows is not so awkward. It’s usually needed so that I can clearly understand what it is I’m feeling.
What a blessing it has been for me to know that God lives and answers prayers. His voice gives peace, comfort, and assurance. It is unlike any other feeling. I believe he speaks to each of us. If you are ever unsure, perhaps you just need to pick up the phone.