Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Courage to Hear God’s Voice

I stood in the emergency room hallway, peered into the room, and listened to Mildred talking to the wall. With defiance, she said. “Nope. I can’t do that. You’re crazy.”

Her eyes moved to and fro, like a clock pendulum. The nurse nudged me into the room. “She’s Schizophrenic. Swallowed a fork today at the funny farm. Fish it out of her stomach.”

When Mildred saw me, her eyes stopped see-sawing. “I love forks. Can it stay in?”

Mildred looked away from me and turned back towards the wall. “Hmmm. I never thought of that. What a good idea.” She tilted her head, apparently in approval.

Later, we put Mildred to sleep. I passed a scope down her mouth and into her stomach. I lassoed the fork, pulled it out and sent her back to the psychiatric ward.

The next week, Mildred was back, this time after swallowing batteries. Again, we removed what she ingested and shipped her home. When Mildred returned three days later after swallowing razorblades, I questioned my own sanity. Another procedure wouldn’t fix Mildred's problem. If I didn’t change her thinking, she would be back—again and again.

I tried some reverse psychology on my schizophrenic patient. I sat down at Mildred’s bedside, held her hand and conversed with her friends. “You’re not really Mildred’s friend,” I said. “Real friends don’t suggest that people do things to hurt themselves."

Mildred, shocked that someone affirmed her voices, shook her head. She scowled at the wall. “He’s right. You don’t really care about me."

After five minutes of rebuking Mildred’s voices, movement outside caught my attention. A crowd of bystanders collected in the hallway, eavesdropping on our conversation.

The emergency room doctor peered into the room and told the nurse. "Give Mildred a shot of Haldol. Put the surgeon in a straight-jacket.”

The Lying Voices

You don’t have to be crazy to hear voices. Sometimes the utterances persuade us to swallow things which tear us up on the inside. Confusing voices twist our thinking, attack our identity, and convince us to doubt God. They tell us:

Everybody else is doing it. It can’t be wrong.

You’re a nobody. You don’t measure up. You’ll never be good enough for God to love you.

Give up. You will never change. You have always been, and always will be, a failure.

Don’t bother praying, God doesn’t listen. His promises aren’t true, stop believing them.

Hearing God’s Voice

Like Mildred, we can choose to ignore the utterances. We don’t have listen to their lies. We can reject them, and instead, hear God’s voice.

Our Shepherd tells us:

You are significant, because I love you.

I pursue you for a unique purpose—a love relationship with Myself.

I died for you. You are already forgiven, accepted and loved. Walk in it.  

Everything you need, I have already supplied. Don’t search for substitutes.

I control your circumstances and I am sovereignly good.

Based on My finished work, your work is done. Now let Me live through you.

After removing the razorblades, I never saw Mildred again. I don’t know if my creative treatment worked or if she transferred somewhere else.

We all can learn something from Mildred and her crazy doctor. We can ignore those voices which tell us to harm ourselves and tune in to the Shepherd’s voice.

“... his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:4-5 (NIV)

Copyright Charles W. Page, M.D., used with permission.

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