In Crazy Times, Why Your Quiet Time isn’t Working: 5 Key Tools to Count on for an Encounter with God (Warning: Only Use these Best Resources if You Want Dramatic Change)

Smack dab in the middle of a world of crisis and a war zone of words being volleyed back and forth from all kinds of sides — and all kinds of personal unspoken broken — I have fallen deeper than I have ever known.

Honestly, I didn’t expect it to go quite like this. 

But it’s 2020. What’s going like anybody thought it would? 

“God is a communicative being.”

Sure, the news and social media streams are all screaming first thing, day after day, trying to prove who’s telling the truth about the real state of things, trying to convince which way is right through a myriad of messes.

Sure, we’ve got personal pain, unspoken broken, that’s only been exacerbated a thousandfold during a global pandemic and devastating lockdowns. 

And, in the middle of everything, like Jonathan Edwards said: God is a communicative being. 

Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp
Levi Voskamp
Ann’s Story posts on Instagram

“There is nothing like knowing that the Communicative God wants to communicate with you.” 

God is a Communicative Being who never stops communicating Truth to a world that is in a brutal daily communication war to decide truth. 

There is nothing like knowing that the Communicative God wants to communicate with you.

God’s Word to you is never a passing word or line — God’s Word is your very lifeline. In tumultuous times, there is only one voice that can calm seas. 

When the sun comes to the window every morning, it comes on fire with a message it can’t contain: 

The One who is the Word wants to have a word with you.

“Apathy for God’s Word leads to atrophy of a soul.” 

To neglect the only Voice that calms waves is to invite internal chaos.  One day, either this world is going to blow apart, or your own world is going to blow apart, and the only way you’re going survive is if you’ve set time apart to let God’s Spirit blow in. 

Apathy for God’s Word leads to atrophy of a soul. 

Knowing God’s Word is the only way to know your own face. Who we are is only found in the home of Him. 

The One who spoke you into being is a Communicative Being who longs to keep speaking to you. 

“The One who spoke you into being is a Communicative Being who longs to keep speaking to you.”

And in a world that’s gone mad and growing madder, I find myself stumbling out of bed each morning and falling hard for Him and all His Words. 

When the world is all stirred up, a soul can be stirred up to meet with God.

All the mainstream news and social streams can anticipate facing off— and a soul can keep anticipating facing God. 

I reach for my Bible first — because if you don’t reach for your first love first, nothing’s going to turn out in the end.

When life spins a bit wild — the best thing to do is fall wildly in love with the Author of Life, who is the author of your Life, and let Him write you a love story, your love story. 

Levi Voskamp
Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp
Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp
Ann’s Story posts on Instagram

How I Fall Deeper in Love with the Communicative God 

1. Pine after the heart of God:  

Want the One who wants you more than anyone else. I have found this true, especially at the bottom of all kinds of unspoken broken: God is never an obligation, but always worthy of anticipation. Time with God isn’t an action on some to-do list but an act of Love with Someone. 

“Want the One who wants you more than anyone else.”

God isn’t a duty when you are attracted to His beauty.  

I can not help it, because this has been my story: 

Fall in love with the One who erases all of your falls. 

Pine after the One who hung on a tree for you, the only One who ever loved you to death and back to the realest life. 

2. Peer into the heart of God:  

You fall in love by peering into the eyes of someone. 

“When life spins a bit wild — the best thing to do is fall wildly in love with the Author of Life, who is the author of your Life, and let Him write you a love story, your love story.” 

When you look into God’s Word, you are looking God in the eye. Peer into the Word like you are looking long into the eyes of God, like you are longing for God.

Read His Word with intentionality instead of randomly: begin to read through the Gospels, work your way through the Epistles, or read one book of Scripture five times through. Highlight themes, repeating words, phrases that connect your heart to His. Trace His face by tracing lines, underlining lines. Study His face, His heart, memorize His eyes.

Open a commentary like this one, if you choose. Grasp God. Simply spend time reading and re-read and re-read the passage from the living Spirit Book like you are reading the eyes of God, listening for God to speak.  

Peer into the heart of God because God gives us time, how can we not give Him back some time, any time?    

Sleepless nights with young children, season of being stretched? Leave a Bible flat open always by the coffee maker. Every time you brew a cup, quaff back the realest draft of Living Water. With each literal cup you stir: Steep in His Word.

Make the soundtrack of His heart, the soundtrack of your life: Listen to His word with apps like this and this while you get ready for the day every day, every time you get in the car, every time you work out, tying the Word in audio to something in your routine, to tie your heart to His.

3. Personalize the heart of God:

When you personalize God’s Word, you see it’s a Word personally for you. 

In the margins of the journaling Bible, or in a separate journal, personalize the Scripture reading from the morning. Write the verses, the text back to yourself, using your name, writing from the perspective and heart of God.

Listen to the movement of the Spirit through His Word. Listen for the heartbeat of God for you through the Word. 

“Write the Scripture reading back to you like it’s a love letter from God — because it is.” 

Write the Scripture reading back to you like it’s a love letter from God — because it is. 

The practice of personalizing Scripture is a practice of entering into His presence, the practice of tuning the heart to hear God speaking personally to you through Scripture, of dialoguing with God through His infallible, living Word. 

The practice of personalizing Scripture moves reading God’s Word from a cerebral, intellectual practice, to a deeply intimate practice of heart communion.

Personalizing Scripture lets you be personally intimate with God. 

And when you personally know God’s intimate heart for you — this is what ultimately changes your heart. 

Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp

4. Present your heart to God:

Presenting all of yourself to God is the gift your soul wants most. 

Presenting your honest heart in lament, in worship, in prayer, in confession, in repentance, in vulnerability to God gives the soul the gift of communion with God — what every human being was made for.  

“Unless we genuinely present all of ourselves to God, we won’t experience God genuinely present to us.” 

After pining after the heart of God, peering into the heart of God, personalizing the heart of God,  the act of fully presenting your whole heart to God through worship music, through vulnerably journaling, through honest prayer journalling, praying Scripture back to God — this transforms the present moment. 

Unless we are wholly present to God with all of ourselves — our lament, our worship, our hopes, our confessions, our heartbreak — we can’t receive the present of wholeness. 

Unless we genuinely present all of ourselves to God, we won’t experience God genuinely present to us. 

The only way to intimacy is through the door of vulnerability. 

5. Participate with the heart of God: 

God’s invitation is always participation in God’s work. 

“God’s invitation is always participation in God’s work.” 

The Triune God is a relationship of participation. Each member of the Godhead lives in fulfilling, self-giving relationship with each other, participating fully in the sacrificial life of each other. 

And God’s invitation to every human being is a life of participation in the God’s work. Linger and listen long to the heart beat of God: 

How is God inviting you from your holy experience in His Word, in presenting prayer — to participate with Him in His holy work in the world? 

Where is He inviting you to participate in the sufferings of Christ, to participate in His redemptive work in your world, participate in ushering in shalom and the Kingdom of God around you, how is He inviting you to participate in following His narrow way especially today? 

“God communicates to us that we might participate with Him.”

Ironically, truly observant Christ-followers move from cheap, sideline observations to costly, sacrificial participation. 

Only conclude your time of encounter with God after counting how you will make even one degree of movement toward participating more with God.

God communicates to us that we might participate with Him.

And it’s in participating in the Triune God’s heart that we feel the recalibrating of our own. 

Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp
Ann’s Story posts on Instagram
Levi Voskamp

Early in the morning, first thing, there’s this  turning on of my lamp and this sacred encounter with God:

Pining after the heart of God, 
Peering into the heart of God, 
Personalizing the heart of God, 
Presenting the whole heart to God…
and then
Participating in the heart of God
As this ignites a passion in the heart 
for the passion of the Christ. 

“The way to counter the fury of a world burning down, is to get down on your knees and light your own heart on fire.” 

There is no more fulfilling way to begin the day because I can testify: Short-change time with God and its your own joy that falls short. 

Especially when the world is on fire, what it direly needs is more hearts on fire for God’s — because you fight fire with fire. 

The way to counter all the madness is to encounter all God’s goodness. 

The way to counter all this heartache,  is to encounter the heart of God.

The way to counter the fury of a world burning down, is to get down on your knees and light your own heart on fire. 

When your heart is breaking, only the sweet balm that comes from breaking open His word can bring healing to your  wounds.  

I linger long under lamplight with His Love letter open like a light in my hands, kindling me. 

Though my hands are holding His Word, there’s enough light for me to see: 

Encounter God and you can count on the arms of God carrying you through. 

(Warning: Only Use if You Want Dramatic Change in your God Relationship)

The God-Encounter Resources that Have Been Utterly Life-Changing For Me: