What is it like to hear from God? What does His voice sound like? What does conversational intimacy with the divine look like? John Eldredge, author of the bestselling WILD AT HEART and EPIC, answers these and other questions in his latest book, WALKING WITH GOD.
Instead of chapters, Eldredge cleverly divides the book into four seasons representing a year of simply living as a follower of God. Within each season he explores different moments with life and faith intersecting and how God reveals himself at such times. Eldredge writes:
“It is our deepest need, as human beings, to learn to live intimately with God. It is what we were made for. Back in the beginning of our story, before the fall of man, before we sent the world off its axis, there was a paradise called Eden…And what they enjoyed above all the other delights of that place was this --- they walked with God. They talked with him, and he with them.”
From this foundation, Eldredge goes into extremely specific moments when he cries out to God and shares the replies, if any, that are given. Along the way he provides scripture references as a backdrop for his interactions with God. He notes that it’s important to slow down to listen to God. With the speed and noise of our modern world, many voices are trying to get our attention. In order to hear God’s voice, we have to be intentional and still. Eldredge describes sitting quietly and asking God how he should spend the weekend --- at his ranch or at home. Then he describes placing the question before God, searching his own heart, and bringing his soul to a “posture of quiet surrender.” In the end, he hears God say, “Yes --- go. It will be good.”
When he gets to the ranch, Eldredge is disappointed that it’s raining. The weather further forces him to slow down, reflecting on the busyness of his life and drivenness of his own soul. Ultimately, he ends up discovering more about himself and God in the process. Such descriptions are intensely personal, and Eldredge goes out of his way to make sure readers don’t try to create formulas out of his experiences. Rather, he encourages them to go and develop their own relationship with God one on one.
Eldredge’s background in counseling is readily apparent as the book progresses. In the section “Fall,” he examines some of the deeper heart issues, including the agreements people make with things that simply aren’t true. He goes on in “Winter” to describe the devil as an “opportunist” and explores the snare of “speculation.” Charismatic readers will resonate with many of his teachings in these areas, but mainstream ones will enjoy Eldredge’s down-to-earth style and desire for God.
WALKING WITH GOD raises a lot of theological questions without providing tons of answers, and maybe that’s okay. It is not designed to be a treatise, but rather one candid look into a year in the life of a man sincerely seeking God. Not everything is relatable or attainable. But most will have their spiritual lives challenged and encouraged by reading this book. Highly recommended to long-time fans of John Eldredge and anyone wondering how to hear God’s voice.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on April 15, 2008