Hearing from God



There is a shorter version of this testimony in my essay, "The New Commandment", but I repeat and expand on it here, as I still consider it to be possibly the most significant spiritual experience I have ever had.

I was driving along in my Mini Minor, going to fellowship in Sydney somewhere. There had been a prelude of unrest preceding this night, but I won't bore you with the details. I was praying furiously for God to intervene and bring peace into the situation. It was dark and fairly quiet on the road.  I was mentally busy, putting together constructive conversations with my Christian brothers and sisters, as I sought Jesus' guidance on what to say. 

Suddenly, a voice, I knew wasn't my own, spoke straight into my brain, bypassing my eardrums, (that's the best way I can describe it) and asked: "Albert, do you love Me?"  You can imagine me, alone in this tiny little car, and a voice, which was almost an echo yet wasn't, ringing in my skull.  How else can I describe it? It wasn't loud, because it really made no use of my sense of hearing. Yet, it was crystal clear, and I had no doubt regarding what was being asked, or Who was asking.  I was shocked. It was totally unexpected and overwhelming.  I burst into tears. I don't know how I kept the car on the road, but I guess, (like the point I made about being 'slain in the Spirit' in my essay by that name), if God is in it, He is in control of everything. 

It was ages before I managed to pull myself together enough to answer. Finally I managed to blurt out: "Yes Lord, You know that I love You!"  To be totally honest, I can't say with any certainty that I actually voiced those words. It is possible I thought them.  At the time, too, I do not recall noticing the similarity to Peter's experience (John 21).  That recognition didn't come until the next day, (when I promptly put the words to music).  He answered, "Then feed My sheep!"  As I write these words down, I recognise how far-fetched this whole thing must sound. Nevertheless, I will finish the story exactly as it happened, without embellishment or trying to make it sound more plausible. Just as He asked Peter three times, He asked me three times.  I guess where Peter was concerned, the three times was significant, as it countered his three-fold denial of Jesus during His trial.  I don't know the significance of the three-fold enquiry to me. As far as I know, I have never denied Him, even during times when I wasn't on talking terms with Him!

I arrived at the fellowship with tears still running down my cheeks. And the whole night, I wasn't able to speak. Not about what happened. And not about the unrest in the group. What I did come to realise was that I wasn't the same person who hopped into the Mini that night. Some incredible changes had taken place, and it would be days before I became aware of all of them.

For this story to make sense, I have to make myself vulnerable by confessing some of my human shortcomings.  I need my sleep, minimum 8 hours, preferably 9. I like veging out in front of the television. I am normally pretty slack when it comes to disciplined reading of the Bible and my prayer life. Physical exercise is good for healthy people with plenty of time on their hands, not for me.

The first change I noticed is that I could almost 'touch' Jesus. He was so close and real, it was like I had been spiritually awakened. Being so aware of His presence, chatting to Him became the most natural thing in the world.  I went to bed chatting to my Lord, and woke up still chatting to Him.  I became aware it was possible to literally 'pray without ceasing', and it was no effort.

The next change was a physical awakening.  Suddenly, 2 to 3 hours sleep a night seemed to be all I needed. For a whole month, that was all I got. Not only was I more refreshed than normal, but my brain felt like a veil had been lifted. My work in the office, writing reports, improved remarkably, even though my mind was mostly with Him. A colleague who regularly used His name disrespectfully, would look strangely at me every time he would start to say 'Jesus' or "Christ', and would be unable to say it. I had not told him what was happening to me. My body was bursting with energy.  I started running nightly for hours, wishing I would come across someone else who was experiencing the same thing. They never came. For a whole month I didn't switch on the television. Instead, I was absorbed in His Word, experiencing revelation after revelation.  As an amateur guitarist, I would pick up my instrument and start to worship Him.  New songs would flow from deep within my being by the dozens. I never liked hugging men, but during this month I wanted to embrace all my brothers and sisters, as my heart was overflowing with love for them. And my libido increased dramatically, but it was only directed at my spouse, who had great difficulty coping with the remarkable change in me.

Then something even more remarkable developed. I felt I was aware of a treasure chest of spiritual gifts that Jesus had open.  He wanted to hand these gifts out freely, but few Christians wanted them.  I seemed to share something of the disappointment and pain He felt when His gifts were rejected, as if I was tuned into His emotions. I seemed to be able to tell which of His followers were open to receive His gifts and love, and to what extent. And which were not open. I couldn't tell what sin was in their lives or what held them back, but it was still like finding out a secret about someone that they didn't really want me to know.  I was amazed how often it was those I had thought of as the most 'spiritual' and close to Him, who didn't want these gifts. It was a type of discernment that I found distressing in the extreme.  The distress grew, as I became increasingly aware of Jesus' grief and pain of rejection. As I grieved with Him, I prayed for the strength to cope with it, knowing as I prayed that I was asking for something that wasn't meant for me. It got so bad towards the end, I thought I would lose my mind in screaming agony. 

Just why Jesus chose me go through this experience I have never quite worked out. All I know is that, after a month of having it on my own, I could not take it anymore. I asked Him to stop it.  And instantly, the incredible awareness was gone.  And so was the energy.  That evening, I switched on the TV and fell asleep in front of it, racking up a good 8 hours of sleep.  I stopped running.  I went back, in part, to my old ways. But an experience like that cannot leave you unchanged.  Maybe it was a foretaste of what is possible in the largely untapped resources of the spiritual realm. 

Some Christians told me it had been from the Devil.  But if that was so, I felt I could never be sure of our Lord again. Still, from then on, I didn't tell anyone about it, feeling they wouldn't understand.



The experience made it necessary to re-write my novel, "Leaves of the Fig Tree". I changed the content to reflect many of the things I had learned. I added a new page 2, sharing with my brothers and sisters in Him a new revelation about the nature of love, as God designed it:


“The first symptom of real love is an inexplicable desire to be together. 
Unrequited love cannot survive and often is only a recognition of what might be, were it returned.

By its very nature, love is mutual.  It thrives or shrivels according to the measure of its expression,
the way in which it is received and the encouragement it is given. Love lives, and therefore must flow to exist.

Love sets no limits on itself. It gives according to the need of its object and gratefully receives all love given in return.  

Only God's love has stood the test of time and only it will last into eternity.”


  • My 'month with Jesus' taught me an incredible lesson - that type of extreme closeness to Him, (specifically referring to being tuned into His pain), is designed for corporate experience, not something any one person can handle on their own.  I do believe it was a foretaste of what is possible, so that I could write it down here, and possibly share the experience with others sometime in the future.
  • We cannot obey The New Commandment, to love one another, on our own. There is an incredible difference between that, and the old commandment to 'love your neighbor', which you can obey on your own.  That's why I believe the secret to the end-time church and the preparation of the Bride is tied up in the revelation of what the New Commandment really means.
  • The 'gifts' Jesus wants to hand out are spiritual ones, treasures to enrich your walk with Him, treasures in heaven, treasures that will change the church forever into a bride without spot or wrinkle, one Jesus wants to come back for.