I want to draw attention to a fascinating little article on CNN Belief written by psychological anthropologist and juxtaposing hearing the voice of God with hearing voices associated with mental illness.
The key to the article is the fact that voices associated with mental illness tend to be “insults, sneers and contemptuous jibes” and that is certainly my own experience. It’s usually loud, obnoxious, intrusive and ALWAYS negative. Whereas:
God talks back in a quiet voice they hear inside their minds, or through images that come to mind during prayer. But many of them also reported sensory experiences of God. They say God touched their shoulder, or that he spoke up from the back seat and said, in a way they heard with their ears, that he loved them. Indeed, in 1999, Gallup reported that 23% of all Americans had heard a voice or seen a vision in response to prayer.
These experiences were brief: at the most, a few words or short sentences. They were rare. Those who reported them reported no more than a few of them, if that. These experiences were not distressing, although they were often disconcerting and always startling. On the contrary, these experiences often made people feel more intimate with God, and more deeply loved.
I’ve only ‘heard’ God on very rare occasions, but can personally attest to the vast difference between that, and voices associated with mental illness.
Great article and topic, well worth a read….