Sometimes God gives you a verse that clearly answers your question. Sometimes you hear the Holy Spirit obviously tell you what you need to hear in your heart. And sometimes the circumstances in your life make God’s answer to you unmistakable.
At other times, however, God is speaking to us but it’s not so bold and clear. Therefore, here are three subtle signs God is speaking to you.
- The Absence of a Clear Answer Is an Answer
Perhaps you are asking God if you should start looking for another job. You’re unsure of what to do, so you just start applying to see what might happen. But no one responds.
Maybe you expressed some interest to someone that you’ve liked for a long time. They responded positively in the moment, but then they haven’t been answering your calls or texting you back.
Or you could be praying about switching churches. But every time you pray about it, you don’t get a clear answer and there’s no other churches in your area that you would feel comfortable going to.
In situations like these, sometimes the lack of a clear answer is your answer. If God wanted you to switch jobs, he would provide another job. That person’s non-answer to you is their answer. And if God wanted you to change churches, he would make that clear to you and give you somewhere else to go.
Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” If God is not instructing and teaching about which way you should go, that means he doesn’t want you to go that way.
- If Something Is Neither Promoted Nor Prohibited in Scripture, Usually God Will Speak Through Your Conscience
Many times people have an overly simplistic view and say things like, “That’s not in the Bible.” But we also have to ask, “Is it prohibited in the Bible?”
Dating, for example, is not promoted in the Bible. But it’s also not prohibited. Mental health medication is not promoted in the Bible. But it’s also not prohibited. Investing in the stock market is not promoted in the Bible. But it’s also not prohibited.
When there’s a topic that is not directly addressed in the Scriptures, oftentimes this is where God will lead you to obey your conscience. As Romans 14:23 states, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
In context, in Romans 14, Paul was trying to help people know how to deal with disagreements about eating certain foods. In Romans 14:1-3, he said:
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.”
Here we can see the principle that something could be wrong for one person and right for another person simply because one person’s conscience is weaker about that subject, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Therefore, if there is an issue that people disagree about, it’s not directly promoted or prohibited in the Bible, and you aren’t sure what God is telling you to do, usually it’s a matter of conscience and faith. If you feel it’s wrong, it’s wrong for you. If you feel it’s right, it’s right for you.
- Sometimes Your Problem Is Your Solution
There are times in life that the very thing we are asking God to remove from us is the very thing he’s trying to bless us through. As 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 explains:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul wanted God to remove this thorn, but it was through this thorn that God was actually going to accomplish his purposes in Paul’s life. Paul wanted to be useful, to preach the word boldly, and be used to reach many people. And he thought this thorn was going to hinder him in doing this. But subtly, God showed him that this thorn was actually going to help Paul be stronger than if he did not have it.
Likewise, there are pains in your life that you feel are blocking God from blessing you. But with a perspective change, it may be that God is actually going to empower you to receive that blessing you crave through the pain you are going through.