Craig

Voice of God

first

(Please listen to Craig’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)

When I was growing up as a pastor’s kid and having this expectation of perfection, I think what I’ve, what I’ve realized is that the enemy loves to bring lies around the things, all sorts of those things that are kind of the cornerstones of what life with Christ is supposed to really be like. And so for me, one of the cornerstones of my faith is vulnerability and honesty. And the very lie the enemy spoke to me is that I’m not allowed to be vulnerable, I’m not allowed to be honest. That somehow, because of expectations for perfection, that wasn’t available to me. And that led down to this pit that feels like no one understands, no one can understand. I’m gonna, you know, ruin my dad’s ministry or something, if I am honest with people that I’m not perfect. That somehow a platform means that you can’t be…You have to be perfect and no one can know that you’re not, otherwise the platform breaks down. And how often we see people that get on a platform and then live with that lie that they have be perfect. Ultimately, that leads to like all this interior distraction that happens. And this is the lie that I think the enemy speaks to all of us, because all of us have a platform of some sort, right? All of us have a sphere of influence, whatever that looks like.

There’s this lie that the enemy gives us that we’re not allowed to be vulnerable or otherwise we’ll somehow wreck what ministry looks like, what being a model looks like and being a picture of God’s love in the earth. And when the opposite is true, right? Like, Christ says, “When you’re weak, I’m strong.” The very, the very thing that people need to hear is that God loves us in the midst of our imperfection. That in this thing that I did, or am doing, God’s showing up and ministering to me. And the great thing that we have available to us in God is that we have an unconditional source of love, right? That’s constantly giving it to us. That’s the foundation on which we can also give and receive love with people. But my primary point of health and thriving in life is not receiving and giving love with people, it’s actually from my Heavenly Father. So when I have that security that comes with Him, that’s what empowers me be vulnerable and honest. And that’s actually what opens us up to, I think, actually receive love from people, right? Because if you have this facade up, and you’re telling people, here’s who I really am, and you’re not that person, anytime someone says “I love this about you, or This is amazing that you’re this way, or that you do this,” the question in the back of your mind is always, “Yeah, but if you knew this about me, you’d never say that. You would never feel that way if you knew this about me. You wouldn’t even want to be around me.” But when you break that facade down, and you’re fully open and honest with people, and someone says, “Hey, I love this about you,” you can actually receive that as another way that God is loving us through people, right? You can receive that real relationship with people and real affection. And when someone doesn’t give it, when they’re when they try to tear us down, you can have the security in God like, Yeah, you’re right. I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. God still loves me.

So I grew up like a normal pastor’s kid going to church every Wednesday, every Sunday, a lot of nights. Even more than that during the week. And there’s things that come with that, for better or worse. There’s a lot of things that come for better, you know. There’s a sense of calling up into an embodiment of faith that I think can be positive. My dad and mom always did a great job of trying not to put expectation on us in the midst of that. Dad always modeled a vibrant faith of his own. He wasn’t just talking about God on Sundays, but I saw him living it on Monday. Getting into middle school and high school, I think that pressure to be perfect became too much for me. On the outside, it looked like I was a, you know, a good Christian kid, that was vibrant, and my words lined up with all that. But on the inside, I was just cratering from the pressure, and trying to figure out how to live up to the expectation of perfection, and not doing it. And what does that mean for me? And so on the inside, I was just a wreck every day.

I kind of entered into this big separation of my interior and exterior life, as if those things could be different. And I could live, you know, fake on the outside and on the inside, have thoughts, have sin, have beliefs and perspectives. The things I would say and do in my car, or in my room, were totally different than the things I did at school. I was kind of becoming this–never knowing, knowing that that wasn’t fully okay. But still living like maybe that’s just normal, maybe that’s just life. Maybe that’s what faith is, you know, is the kind of this dichotomy, this separation between the two, and not feeling like I ever had a safe place to talk about that stuff. I kind of just wrestled with it on my own for years and years.

I get to college, and I’m still living that out. I start to get plugged in leading worship, playing guitar, and then got to my sophomore year, and I just…Summer leading up to it and Fall semester, my sophomore year in college, I was dating a great girl, I had all this cool stuff on the exterior, and I was just in the pit on the inside. And so I got to a point to where everything was broken down. I was ready to just give it all up. And I didn’t know, I kind of started from this place of like, okay, God, I’m gonna give You one shot here. I think I, under this kind of belief, I’ve given Him a shot my whole life, to kind of show me how to live and how to make life what it should be. And then so, I get done playing guitar at this campus-wide worship service. And I’m sitting on the front pew, last service of the fall semester, and they had brought in this really great speaker, who I loved, to kind of wrap up the semester this really cool way, and I can’t hear a word that he’s saying. And so I’m giving God this one last shot to show up. And in that moment, I prayed this really not eloquent prayer, but maybe the first honest prayer of my life. And what I said is, “God, I don’t know what to do. But I know You know what to do. Tell me what to do. And I’ll do it.” That’s what I said. This kind of launched a last ditch effort. And in that moment, I heard the voice of God in a way that I didn’t know was possible. And what He said to me, clear as day, “Craig, it needs to be just Me and you for a while.”

As it so often happens with God when He speaks, revelation comes with that. I knew what He meant when He said it. And what He was saying is, “Craig, you’ve been seeking affirmation and affection in the world around you. And I’m inviting you into a lifestyle of finding that in Me. And what what’s required about that is having a season where you just make space away from all the rest of that stuff. And you learn how to fill that space with Me.” And so that summer I made…I didn’t hang out with a soul. I woke up every day, I didn’t, I didn’t work. –That was a hard conversation with my parents. Trying to convince them like, yeah, I’m not supposed to work all summer. I’m just supposed to spend time with God.–And so that’s what I did. So they let me have that room and all summer I’d just wake up the beginning of the day and say, “Okay, God, what are we doing today?” And I’d get my journal out, worship, and the rest of the day would just be His. I really learned what it was to hear His voice. I really learned what it was to get healing and freedom in His presence and in His nearness. I learned what it was to not live for affirmation from people, but just affirmation from Him. And I found out that His voice, He’s always speaking, I found out that His Word is powerful and true, and meaningful. Where I’d always seen it as this, I should, it was a should for me, right? Like, I should read the Bible. I should pray. I should worship. I should be a good person. God started to shift that should to want. It’s like I want to read, I want to spend time, because He was changing my life through all these different avenues. And I just started separating myself from seeking affirmation from the world, and started actually seeking that in Him.

And in that moment, I prayed this really not eloquent prayer, but maybe the first honest prayer of my life. And what I said is, “God, I don’t know what to do. But I know You know what to do. Tell me what to do. And I’ll do it.”

As I’m making space for God to fill, He just would show up. And so it’s like, God I’ve got to have 30 minutes. Instead of watching this show or doing this thing, what if I just make some space? Like, what would You say? And what would You do? And what would You want me to do and this sense of His nearness just became like my source of life, you know? My source of direction and clarity and identity and guide for my relationships. And as I moved into doing more ministry and more work, getting married and having kids, and all the rest, it has become this foundation for what it means to really, like, live the Christian life. It’s the idea that God’s not distant. God is close. He’s full of love for us. That rhythm of meeting with God just has carried me through so many seasons.

I had this plan for myself building this traveling worship ministry, which is just kind of more of my background. And the Lord said, “I just want you to serve your dad.” And so I started with him in 2012 and started traveling every weekend leading worship. And in that season, I had this amazing opportunity and conversation with him about, what would it look like to actually resource other people to have a tangible, daily connection with God? And what if we help people start their day that way? That was kind of one of the big transformative things for me, was not just meeting with God, but actually beginning my day in the foundation that He’s near to me. Beginning my day in the realization that, like Scripture says, that His voice is still and small. That used to make me so mad. It’s like “God, I want to hear your voice above all the other voices in my life. The world’s so noisy and loud. Like, why isn’t Your voice big and loud? Why is it still and small? I don’t get it.” And, and I had this revelation, like this idea that He said to me, “Craig, I’m so close to you, it would be weird if I shouted.”

The veil was torn, top to bottom and the presence of God made available to all of us. And now, Scripture says, that we’re the temple for the Holy Spirit. We’re the temple for God’s presence. So God is in us and with us. So His voice can be still and small. But in the midst of that, realizing, I need to tune my ear to That voice every day so that I have that sense of closeness and connection, and I’m able to hear His voice or feel a tug from Him on my heart, in the midst of the noise and busyness of the day. So what would it look like to help people spend their first 15 minutes alone with God every day? Even just 15 minutes can be so transformative in people’s lives. And what if that had worship and reading and prayer for every day, so that we’re not the center of our time alone with God, but through worship, we can start our time alone with God, with God at the center, His character, His goodness, and how much freedom comes from that. And then a devotional thought that would just stir up your affections for God, and that ultimately culminating and guided prayer so that, you know, my writing isn’t the point with this daily devotional, but actually a conversation with God is the point. So you walk out of every one of those actually connecting with God, talking with Him, and Him speaking directly into your situation in your life. So we started that resource back in 2015.

I remember the first email was going to go out, I was sitting there at my desk, and Rachel, my wife is next to me. And another moment of just hearing God’s voice, I was sitting there and was like, this is terrible. All I’d ever written to that point was like term papers and music. I was like, I don’t know how to write a devotional. Most devotionals is are like compilations of someone’s life work of writing and I’m like, starting off trying to crank out something every day. I was like, this is a terrible idea. And Rachel, she just, she’s knows me so well, she’s like, “Hey, you should just take a minute and pray and just see what God says.” And so I put my head down on my desk. I was just like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. What do You say?” And He spoke really clearly to my heart in that moment, “If you, if you write this I’ll bring My people to it,” is what He said. And it a promise He’s fulfilled till now. That first year, we had like, over a million people visit the website. It’s crazy. No email, no social media, not telling a soul about it from us, just like, word of mouth. There have been so many testimonies of like, as people would just make space for God to fill, that He would just show up and transform individuals. So many stories of family transformation, as people would just share it with their kids or whatever that were far from God. And some start having like church staff do it together, and then whole churches do it. Now we have like hundreds of thousands of people all over the world that are doing this resource and are giving and supporting it.

God is just moving in unbelievable ways. It’s just amazing how He fulfills His promises. So, we need God’s presence to guide us and His sense of nearness. And like, what if that was what Christian life was founded on was, you know, not a Sunday celebration, but a daily personal relationship. Then we’re celebrating on Sundays the fruit of that relationship, not that [Sundays] being our only touchpoint with God and other stuff. So yes, that sense of believing in Him has been new, but it’s been really powerful and transformative to believing that He’s going to do far more than I can ask or imagine like His Word says. There’s something powerful that happens, if you, even right now in this moment, can figure out where you’re striving for perfection and lay that down before the feet of Jesus and receive His love. His unconditional love, through vulnerability and honesty. Then join with that belief or that perspective that God has joined with that love and receive that for yourself, and let that wash through you. Whatever that looks like in that moment, let that bring healing and transformation. We can live into this opportunity, this life that God’s made available to us.

To me, it all goes back to that moment. Sitting on the front pew of Second Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and just praying, “God I don’t know what to do, but I know you know what to do, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” And that honesty, there being no need for eloquence, and Him speaking — “it just needs to be Me and you for a while.”

DONATE NOW TO HELP US BRING YOU MORE STORIES

Latest Stories

A Buddhist Hears From Jesus

Growing up Buddhist, Allison sought academic praise and worldly achievements, doing all the right things but never finding peace. In the midst of a suicide attempt, she hears the [...]

A Friend of Jesus

He's carried a 12 foot wooden cross all over the world, has story after story that movies are made of, and only wants to be remembered as a friend of Jesus. He has given us an [...]

A Really Big Yes

A few high school students say yes to God, and a culture shift happens at the school. Students are changed, revival breaks out and the Kingdom advances.

A Step of Faith is a Step of Faith

A single step of faith begins a journey that takes Danny and his family from India to the United States. Trusting God, even when everything seemed bleak.

A Vision Revealed. A Waitress Consoled.

He loves all of us like that! I thought about it I bet she's been crying out for years thinking her prayers aren't getting any higher than the ceiling because nothing's changing. [...]

An Answer to Anxiety

I did not want the Lord. All I was wanting was to get this anxiousness out of me. This was bad this was really bad anxiety. I was asking the Lord to help me. He came in and He gave [...]

An Impossible Conception

She has battled cancer multiple times and through those challenges is told conception is impossible. But God...After 17 years of infertility, she becomes pregnant.

An Intimate Vision

Seeing God's word as an intimate love letter draws Craig into encounters with Jesus that change his vision of himself and a deeper relationship with God.

An Order to Prophecy

Knowing God is a God of order, Pierce prays for and receives immediate confirmation regarding a prophetic word. He shares it with the entire church. I am not what I would consider [...]

Awakening to God’s Love

God's reckless pursuit of Seth, despite his anger and drug use, comes to a head as his parents' deteriorating health leads Seth to his knees and an awakening to God's beautiful love.

Break Through

Addicted to drugs for over 23 years, God uses what should have been a fatal car accident to break through the noise in Todd's life and draw him near. "I don't really have an [...]

Co-Laboring In Love

A shared love for hair and Jesus finds two stylists co-laboring to bring the beauty and hope of the gospel to their downtown salon. The safest place is in His will. And, the [...]

Courageously Weird

Stepping out on a limb for God but not wanting to be seen as weird, Molly pushes through her own fears to be courageous in the Lord. These are the stories--- these are the ones [...]

Daily Desperate Dependence

When life's challenges become too great, Joe discovers the only thing that will get him through is a daily desperate dependence on the Lord. I began connecting with the Holy [...]

Dance with Me

And so I just leaned my head forward. And for a moment, I felt like there was a chest that I was really putting my head on, and I just danced with Jesus and cried and experienced [...]

Defined by the Father

Trying to live up to his father's expectations, Colin was depressed, hopeless and lost. At a conference Colin encounters the living God, he is healed physically, spiritually and [...]

Don’t Give Up. Rise Up.

On a mission trip in Nigeria, Ayelen contracts Ebola. Upon returning to Argentina, she is hopitalized and left for dead. As she cries out to the Lord for help she hears the Lord [...]

Dreams. A Glimpse of the Father’s Love.

I realized all those things that I dreamt about, that those were gifts that He gave me. Gifts. Just like a glimpse of His power for me and His love for me. That He loved me so much [...]

Facing Mental Affliction

Years of mental affliction was destroying Anthony and his family. He encounters Jesus through love and inner healing and is instantly healed.

Father to the Fatherless

There was this void in my life, right? This void of love, this void of acceptance, void of attention, void of affirmation, and I tried my hardest to find those things. I believe [...]

Freedom Behind Bars 1/2

Sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Gene finds Jesus and true freedom behind bars as his pleas for mercy are denied by the courts. "Unshackle him, release him [...]

Freedom Behind Bars 2/2

After 34 years of serving the Lord behind bars, Gene is released. Looking back he shares some of the supernatural God moments in his life. He said, "Seriously, the Holy Spirit told [...]

Give Jesus a Try

I had constant suicidal thoughts, like, on the regular, I always thought about wanting to kill myself, because I never thought I was ever good enough. And I always thought that, [...]

God Has the Final Say…Not Cancer

Doctors sent him home to die. Sure that God had the final say and not cancer Jeff maintained, prayed without ceasing and the cancer ravaging his body was healed.

God is After You

Joseph needed more than religious do's and don'ts to comfort his broken heart. A new friend told him "God is after you!", which led to him hearing from God and his healing.

God Speaks a Better Word

Two of her three boys are diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome but God speaks a better word to Jeffie through the Holy Spirit prophetic words, and the Bible.

Going All In

"When I was born on May 4, 2012, I was already fighting for my life. Just like everyone here, God had a purpose for my life. After spending three weeks in the NICU at birth, I [...]

Hal-Le-Lu-Jah

Born with severe sleep apnea, 21 month old Landon receives a tracheotomy and doctors say he will never talk. His parents pray for complete healing and receive a miracle with one [...]

Healing in Unbelief 1/2

An ambassador for Christ, Lee finds himself faced with Camille's unbelief despite his certainty that God is going to supernaturally heal her. If I could teach anybody, anything, [...]

Hearing God’s Voice

A string of bad choices leave Baylee broken and homeless. Desperate for help, her hope is restored by the prayer of a stranger and hearing the voice of God.

Heart for the Homeless

Circumstances in her own life gives Karen a deep understanding and heart for the homeless that leads serving in South Dallas faithfully for over 23 years.

I Give You My Life

Fourteen years old and struggling with insecurity and feeling weak, Chethan plans his suicide. He cries out to God, "I give you my life" and is overwhelmed by the presence and [...]

In Need of the Gospel

Through missional outreach, Jesse realizes we are all in need of the gospel. He is burdened with the weight of sharing and living for His Kingdom. There are people that are, that [...]

Inmates Pray. Cancer Healed.

The doctor walks in and he says, “Mr. Edson, I don't know how to explain this, but there is no cancer in this biopsy.” Immediately, I showed them a band that I wear around my wrist [...]

Inner Healing and Deliverance

Kelsey thought inner healing and deliverance was weird until she experienced it for herself and truly understood the gospel at a deeply personal level. I think, until we as [...]

Just One

Despite the challenges of running a group home for troubled teens, Tiffany and her family discover it's all worth it if they can save just one from the system and introduce her to [...]

Keeping a Promise

Diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age in Mexico and ostracized from her family for her faith, Tethe keeps her promise to the Lord. In 1997 I had no hope to live. I didn't [...]

Knit Together

Ultrasounds revealed and confirmed, in utero, that Ashley's son August had polycystic kidney disease in both kidneys. After months of prayer, God knit together a miracle for family [...]

Leaving Everything for Jesus

Searching for fulfillment and satisfaction in what the world offered left Lance broken and longing for something real. When he encountered the reality of the righteousness [...]

Made to Worship

Learning to pray to the Lord through singing, Aiva became connected to God. It is in worship that she found His comfort, peace, nearness, and more in the midst of tragedy. I've [...]

Not Ashamed

Her heart is for women caught in sex industry and life on the streets, but Nadia shares how Holy Spirit directed her to share the Father's heart for a pimp.

Power of Hope

Living in abundant hope, faith and power, Caroline refuses to let her diagnosis of infertility define her faith, her purpose, or the goodness of God.

Power of Prayer in the Storm of Addiction

Just over and over again, when I would get in a bad place, [I would say] “God who is my daughter? Who is my daughter?” And I would declare it; “She's a princess warrior. She is [...]

Precious Pain

Paralyzed by the pain of arthritis, forced to rest and unable to care for her family Sayo hears clearly from the Lord. Her illness becomes precious. I sensed God telling me, "You [...]

Prompted by Holy Spirit

Kyle is prompted by the Holy Spirit to "bless the feet". Later that morning, his feet are blessed so that all ministry expenses can be paid in full. He also details an encounter of [...]

Provision for the Journey

They sold everything and set out on a journey, not sure where the Lord would lead them. They've learned to trust Him every step of the way. To get rid of excess, and get rid of [...]

Purposefully Homeless

Led by God on a purposefully homeless journey, Rachel leaves her job, home, and modern day comforts to find the one thing money can't buy. I wasn't raised this kind of [...]

Radical Love Extravagant Provision

God's radical love causes Kyna to leave drugs and alcohol behind as her daily provision becomes the extravagant love of the Lord. I want to walk in radical love and radical [...]

Reclaiming the Past

Unable to trust God after the loss of his sister, EJ looks for answers and is able to reclaim the past when he has multiple encounters with Jesus. I think fear will keep you from [...]

Reconciling Race

A purposeful engagement and wedding become the catalyst to reconciling race through the union of marriage and the grace of God. My definition of racism is like a hatred of the [...]

Resource Room of Heaven

Financial plans crumble, car totalled, Clint feels he is being punished by God. He has an encounter with Jesus and learns about the resource room of heaven.

Running With The Gospel

After multiple confirmations of his calling, God anoints Peter's feet to run with the gospel. When a father affirms a son, there's nothing more powerful.

Simple Prayer of Faith

Wade shares how a simple prayer of faith and following Jesus' example of laying hands on the sick has lead to supernatural healings and salvations. The ultimate goal is to follow [...]

Spiritual Roots

After years of unexplained medical issues, Renee hears that her symptoms have spiritual roots. At the end of her rope, she considers the supernatural. Renee's faith is challenged [...]

Stop Rejecting Me

He spent his entire life rejecting God until kidney failure went from dialysis to a nearly fatal organ transplant, causing Chris to stop running from the only One who could save him.

The Father’s House

When things don't add up, God's miraculous provision provides further confirmation for missionaries to create a discipleship house for lost sons –The Father's House.

The Forgiveness of an Adulterer

A broken past leads to lies and adultery as the foundation of their marriage. Through God's incredible grace and forgiveness, hope is found and a marriage is restored.

The Forgiveness of an Adulterer

A broken past leads to lies and adultery as the foundation of their marriage. Through God's incredible grace and forgiveness, hope is found and a marriage is restored.

The Gift of Trust

Faced with infertility, Rod and his wife choose to trust God and His plans for them through the gift of adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy. God has supernaturally revealed [...]

The Height of Grace in the depths…

Abortion leaves many in the depths of despair, it is only through the heigths of the Father's love and grace that Brooke is able to forgive herself.

The Risk of Faith

Looking for opportunities to celebrate God, Daniel goes out expecting God to show up in a moment and his faith is increased with every risk he takes. For me, it's all about Jesus. [...]

The Story Behind The Unseen Story

His love surpasses knowledge; it's a peace that surpasses understanding. That means it's beyond, what God does, has to be beyond our intellect. If we can understand God, then we [...]

The Story Behind TUS Q&A pt. 2

Brooke, Adam and with the help of their CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) Meredith answer listeners' questions on their stories, ministry challenges, and what's next for The Unseen [...]

Through the Wilderness

A seasoned hiker loses his trail and is lost for seven days. Desperate for help and ready to give up, Josh hears a Voice that guides him through the wilderness, giving him peace in [...]

Two Words from a Stranger…

Jeremy prays for an opportunity to share God's love. He receives a word of knowledge for a stranger. Those two specific words change both men forever.

Unbelievable Expectations

Does that mean that I was saved? I lived like hell for 45 years after that. So does that mean that I was saved? I don't know. I got to the point where I was I was drinking, you [...]

Vehicle for the Gospel

Rapping and preaching the gospel all over the country turns out to be quite difficult when you don't have a vehicle. Moses prays and fasts for a month asking God for help. The Lord [...]

Voice of God

The appearance of perfection was important for Craig as a Pastor's son, but when he hears the voice of God everything changes. I heard the voice of God in a way that I didn't know [...]

When All Seems Lost

On suicide watch all seems lost when JD loses nearly three quarters of a million dollars in three days. But faithful obedience pays off. I thought God was going to bless me. And [...]

Whoa, God is Here!

John begins each day with expectancy of what the Holy Spirit will do. Lead by the Spirit, he gets to share in some incredible supernatural experiences with God and His children.

Your Life Is Not Your Own

Rosie has attempted suicide twice since losing her son and is planning a third attempt the very day that she meets Tyler and Andy who share that her life is not her own and God has [...]

A Friend of Jesus | Supernatural TestimonyKeeping a Promise | Supernatural Testimony

Send this to a friend

Hi, this story is AMAZING! Please take a moment to listen: Voice of God!
link: https://theunseenstory.org/stories-posts/voice-of-god/