I was 16. I sat in Pizza Hut’s parking lot in my mom’s car. I wanted to apply for a job there, but I didn’t want to do it without God’s leading. So I made a deal with God. I said, “God, if someone comes out of that door in the next 5 seconds, then I’ll know that you want me to get a job here. 1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … 4 1/2 … 4 3/4 … 4 7/8…”
This is not an example of hearing God’s voice through circumstances. This is an example of “stupid.” When God speaks to us through circumstances, he doesn’t speak through circumstances that we set up. He speaks to us through divine situations.
One Bible example is Jonah. He disobeyed God and was running from Him. He had himself thrown off a ship in order to save the lives of everyone else on the boat. He expected to die. But then this whale came and swallowed Jonah. Jonah’s plan was to die; but his circumstance changed that. Through the circumstance he found his way back to God. (Read the short book of Jonah if you don’t know the story).
Hearing God’s voice through circumstances is a topic that must find balance between two pillars. Firstly, God certainly uses circumstances to guide us. Secondly, circumstances do not always indicate God’s plan. For example, bad things may be hindrances from Satan or a sign from God that we should stop. Both are possible, but the conclusions have opposite results. We make a big mistake if we look solely at our circumstances to hear from God, yet ignore the Bible, Godly counsel, and divine revelation.