God Speaks Internally
“Cuba! I want you to go to Cuba.” I knew the “internal” voice was not mine because I had no desire to go to Cuba. Cuba was not on my radar. It was a communist country and closed for normal travel by the U.S. authorities. There were no direct flights from the U.S. to Cuba and all recreational flights there were banned.
A year and a half earlier I had felt “impressed” by God to seek the position as head of the mission’s committee at our church. Several months into my commitment I heard an internal voice that said, “I want you to plan a mission trip. Your church has not had an international mission’s trip in years.” As I prayed into this idea, I felt “led” to begin by starting a weekly prayer group to (1) intercede for the trip and (2) ask the Lord where we were to go.
For six weeks a few interested friends and I met and prayed for the Lord’s direction. I had placed a world map on the wall of our prayer room and each meeting we faithfully asked where the Lord would lead us to go. At the end of the six weeks, I placed my hand on the map as I had every week previously, but this time I heard “Cuba, I want you to go to Cuba!” I knew this was not me, it had to be the Lord because I had absolutely no desire to go to Cuba. Our denomination had churches in Cuba but the Cuban government would not allow any open evangelism there. I knew if our pastor agreed to a trip to Cuba the impression I felt had to be the Lord. He immediately gave me his approval when I asked him if we could plan a mission trip to Cuba. My heart began to stir with excitement. I would have felt trepidation had going to Cuba not been the Lord’s will.
We continued praying weekly for the next year as I organized the trip with the Pastor and Bishops in Havana. We prayed for the Lord to “call” people to go on our trip and secured a charter flight to and from the U.S. I wondered if we could get even a handful of people willing to go. I was amazed when the Lord formed our team of 20. Eleven were from our church and 8 were from another church in the area. My husband and I had been financially supporting an Apostle missionary who wanted to join our team making us a group of 20. We then began to plan fundraisers so that we could bring gifts to the Cuban churches. Through God’s blessing, we were able to purchase 3 video projectors for showing the Jesus films that had been donated. We gathered 500 pounds of donated medical supplies, and were given 1,200 Bible tracts in Spanish, and 1,200 New Testament Spanish Bibles by the Gideon’s ministry. We had a garage sale and took in used bicycles which raised the money to purchase 20 new bicycles for the Cuban pastors to travel to their home churches. Finally, we had a large banquet which raised enough money to enable us to give a large financial gift for the churches in Cuba.
A couple of months before our trip our charter carrier cancelled our flight. Our missionary Apostle arranged for us to fly by commercial airlines to Costa Rica and minister in his churches for a few days and then travel on to Cuba from there. The day we were to leave Costa Rica for Cuba, our flight was delayed because of a dense fog over Central America. Disappointed we had lost a day of our trip, we finally boarded the plane taking us to our destination- Cuba. A man from our team gave me a handwritten note during our flight from Costa Rica to Cuba. The Lord had spoken to him overnight about our delay. The note said, “The Lord spoke to me and told me our delay was so that God could put His man in customs for our arrival.” My heart leapt because we were carrying Bibles and Bible tracts which were illegal for us to bring into the country.
We had 20 people with 40 pieces of luggage. One was personal and the other was filled with medical supplies and Bibles. Being the one who organized the trip, I was led to the customs table and the guard opened one of our bags. It contained bars of soap, blank cassette tapes and some medical supplies. I handed him a bar of soap and a cassette tape and said, “Regalo” which meant gift in Spanish. He nodded, closed the suitcase and waved us all through without looking at another bag. I had no idea soap was rare in Cuba and that bar of soap was a luxury gift to that customs inspector.
The Cuban church had borrowed a truck to carry our 40 bags of luggage. They also rented vans for our team to transport us to the church in Havana after our arrival. The church pastor told us that earlier that morning they had used the truck to deliver a refrigerator to the mother of the man who was head of the customs department. The customs manager had heard the Cuban church had borrowed a truck to pick up a large group of travelers flying to Havana later that morning. He needed their help to deliver the refrigerator to his mother. They gladly accommodated him because they had the time to help him bless his mother. He was a believer and asked our hosts about the large group of people who would soon arrive at his airport. They told him we were missionaries from the U.S. He said he would make sure we got through customs easily and quickly. He was God’s man in the customs department!
Through the week we stayed at a large church in Havana where they were hosting a group of 500 people including many pastors from all over the island. We had an amazing time ministering to the people and we were greatly touched by their dedication to the Lord. The pastors had a holy fire to see the Gospel preached in their nation. Although their circumstances were bleak as far as living conditions, the Cuban people had the joy of the Lord. Several pastors we met had been in prison for preaching and evangelizing on the streets. They were determined to stay in their country no matter the cost, to lead others to the Lord. Our lives were changed by their faith and we were privileged to encourage them and share our common love for the Lord, but we were also deeply humbled by their love and faithfulness to God. Although we were not able to openly evangelize in the streets of Cuba, we were used to provide tools for the pastors to witness the love of God to the Cuban people. This entire amazing adventure began by the “internal” voice of the Lord.
This story is a perfect example of God’s “internal” voice. There are situations in which we need wisdom that does not have a specific answer in the Bible, such as a team from Tampa going to Cuba on a mission’s trip. The Holy Spirit was sent to the children of God for the purpose of guiding and directing us as we surrender our will and lives to the Lord. His voice can be heard by internal impressions or leadings as well as by circumstances which direct our path. In Part 1 of “How God Speaks”, I revealed God speaks through Creation. In Part 2, I showed He speaks through His Word. In Part 3, God Speaks through an Internal Voice (the Holy Spirit) in our conscience.
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:2-5 New King James Version. “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me.” John 10:14 Amplified Version. (Emphasis mine.)
The internal voice of God is one that leads and guides us to walk on the same path as the Lord walked. He directs us and brings us out of our natural way of thinking and doing, by leading us into God’s will for our lives. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14. Amplified Version. (Emphasis mine).
The word “led” is #71 in the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. It means to lead, to bring along, to carry, to lead gently. To hear His voice means to understand, while to know His voice means to perceive, understand or be aware of. To follow Him means we will walk in the same way and on the same path as He walks. We will accompany Him as His disciples. These scriptures confirm to us that the Lord leads and guides us by an “internal” voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit. He directs our path as we “follow” Him. If we are His sheep and we have received the Holy Spirit, then we should be able to “hear” His voice and follow His lead.
“And when they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them, So passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.” Acts 16:7-8. (Emphasis mine). Paul and Silas were disciples of Jesus, Apostles to the nations with the call to make His name known. They had come into the faith after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Their leading and direction came from the Holy Spirit via an internal voice.
Jesus promised His disciples when He had to leave them He would send them the Holy Spirit Who would guide and direct them. “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. John 14:26 Amplified Version. (Emphasis mine).
Two thousand years later we, His disciples, still need the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, bring us understanding, and teach us the ways of Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit speaks to us by using an internal voice only His sheep can hear. Many have claimed to have heard God speak to them but they have done wicked things in His name. The direction of the Holy Spirit will never lead us to do anything to contradict the Biblical Christian teachings of Jesus. Everything Jesus did was motivated by love and filtered through God’s truth. Jesus was solely directed by God the Father in all that He did and said while on earth and in the same way, His disciples are to be directed by His Holy Spirit who was promised to lead us into all things (of God).
God speaks to us through His Creation which is alive, and has a silent, yet powerful voice. God speaks to us through His written Word which is His Eternal Truth. God speaks to us through a quiet internal voice which is the leading of His Holy Spirit. But there are still other ways in which the Lord speaks to us. This series will continue…
The children of God are not left to grope as if blind, trying to find our way to God. We are not dependent upon man alone to give us our instruction about God. If we are the sheep of His pasture, we are able to hear, perceive and follow the voice of our Good Shepherd. God speaks; are we listening?