After the earthquake came a fire. . . . And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19: 12)
A woman who had made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord was once asked the secret of her seemingly easy growth. Her brief response was, “Mind the checks.”
The reason many of us do not know and understand God better is that we do not heed His gentle “checks”— His delicate restraints and constraints. His voice is “a gentle whisper.” A whisper can hardly be heard, so it must be felt as a faint and steady pressure upon the heart and mind, like the touch of a morning breeze calmly moving across the soul. And when it is heeded, it quietly grows clearer in the inner ear of the heart.
God’s voice is directed to the ear of love, and true love is intent upon hearing even the faintest whisper. Yet there comes a time when His love ceases to speak, when we do not respond to or believe His message. “God is love” (1 John 4: 8), and if you want to know Him and His voice, you must continually listen to His gentle touches.
So when you are about to say something in conversation with others, and you sense a gentle restraint from His quiet whisper, heed the restraint and refrain from speaking. And when you are about to pursue some course of action that seems perfectly clear and right, yet you sense in your spirit another path being suggested with the force of quiet conviction, heed that conviction. Follow the alternate course, even if the change of plans appears to be absolute folly from the perspective of human wisdom.
Also learn to wait on God until He unfolds His will before you. Allow Him to develop all the plans of your heart and mind, and then let Him accomplish them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own, for often His performance will appear to contradict the plan He gave you. God will seem to work against Himself, so simply listen, obey, and trust Him, even when it appears to be the greatest absurdity to do so. Ultimately, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8: 28), but many times, in the initial stages of the performance of His plans:
In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.
Therefore if you desire to know God’s voice, never consider the final outcome or the possible results. Obey Him even when He asks you to move while you still see only darkness, for He Himself will be a glorious light within you. Then there will quickly spring up within your heart a knowledge of God and a fellowship with Him, which will be overpowering enough in themselves to hold you and Him together, even in the most severe tests and under the strongest pressures of life.
~from Way of Faith
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 373-374). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.