Author Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. Bill’s first whisper came to him while in 2nd grade, after listening to his teacher read the Old Testament account of Samuel and Eli(1 Samuel 3). His teacher then gave him a poem entitled “Samuel”, in which the writer asks God to give him an open ear like Samuel’s, alive and always ready to hear and obey God’s whispers. That poem essentially forms the foundation for this book.
Scripture, the author states, declares that our faith is relational- we speak to God through prayer, He speaks to us through whispers. The issue isn’t whether or not God is speaking, it’s whether or not we’re truly listening. Pastor Hybels describes 5 inclusive filters through which a whisper must pass to authenticate its validity. Each prompting: must be from God, Scriptural, wise, in tune with our uniquely God-created character, and be submitted to the godly counsel of spiritually mature, trusted Christian friends. Our challenge is to obey these promptings, no matter the cost and despite our fears and doubts. Even, and especially, when God asks us to carry a heavy load, God’s purpose will be fulfilled through the assignment He’s entrusted to us.
It is vitally important that we be in God’s Word, the source of many of His promptings. While God may not whisper specific wisdom relevant to our situation, we have the default wisdom of Scripture and the truth of His Word. Even in our darkest nights, God is near, actively seeks us out and speaks words of comfort, insight and peace. God also speaks to us via others, as Nathan did to King David, to help us apply Scripture to our lives.
Ultimately, we need to relinquish our lives to God rather than clinging to our accomplishments. With the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), we trustingly respond to Jesus: “Just say the word.”