Whispers From God
Voices from the Rooftop Series
By Stefanie Byrd
I believe the Lord often speaks in whispers. I hear these whispers sometimes in my heart. While at the women’s retreat this spring, there were several times when I felt a desire to go for a walk by myself. But I kept making excuses as to why that wouldn’t be a good idea to go. Finally, during the last 30 minutes of our free time, I decided to go for it.
I walked—or climbed, rather—up the big hill, not sure where the path would lead. As I made it to the top, the woods opened up into a grassy field, surrounded by trees on either side. I felt my heart starting to slow as I took in the beautiful scenery and the sounds of nature. It was so peaceful. Usually there are a million thoughts running through my mind at any given point, but as I walked, my thoughts began to still. I felt my mind at rest … as if the peace of God truly was guarding my heart and mind in the moment.
As I looked to my left, I saw a small path leading into the woods. Though I wanted to continue straight ahead, I felt a whisper that said, “Go that way.” After walking a short ways, I came to a clearing in the woods and there before me, stood three wooden crosses.
Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion and just started crying. I didn’t even know why I was crying, but it felt like such a relief to just let the tears roll. I remembered something the retreat speaker had said: “Have you ever just cried? Not because things are bad, but because it’s a season of life that’s just exhausting?” I sat there for a while in front of those crosses. I told Jesus I was sorry, though I wasn’t even quite sure for what I specifically needed to repent.
Later, I realized it was simply that I had not come sooner. I was being “sucked dry by all these urgent things and was not taking time to focus on the important things,” like spending time with my Lord. I listened while I sat in the woods, expecting to hear a word from God, something profound, maybe direction for the future, a next step? I prayed, “Here I am, Lord. I am listening now. Do you have a word for me?” Yet, nothing. Only stillness … in my heart and all around. Finally, I got up and continued to walk.
Then, a short while later as I was walking along, I felt Jesus say, “ I just wanted to take a walk with you and spend time with you. I wanted to make a memory with you.” Jesus had brought me there to remind me that he was with me and would always be with me. That I can rest in Him. And that the God of the universe WANTS to spend time with ME! It was as if he was intentionally pulling me away from all the hustle and bustle—the “urgent” concerns and even the good things that can sometimes distract me—so that I would simply come and BE with him…so that He could quiet me with His love (Zephaniah 3:17).
Most people have heard the verse in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." But I love the way the Message captures it: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out…? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Stefanie Byrd, a wife and mother of three, lives in St. Louis County and has served as a Deacon at Rooftop Church.