When an idea or a feeling comes from God, William Barry says, it has a certain resonance. It’s striking. It’s like the feeling we have when we’re reading a book and a passage hits us as true and right. It’s in boldface.
When an idea or feeling comes from God it has a certain clarity and persistence. We don’t forget it. It sticks with us, and it keeps coming up, again and again. It doesn’t go away.
And third and most important, Barry says, when an idea or feeling comes from God it’s accompanied by joy and peace to varying degrees. It lifts our hearts—we feel good, like ourselves—even if later we begin to question and doubt again, as we always do.
The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd directly, in the image from John’s gospel, and they follow it. But these feelings we have are the voice of the shepherd, too, these feelings of resonance and clarity and joy.
“It seems as though these thoughts come to me,” Barry says, “and I know that what I am experiencing is different from when I am talking to myself.”
from Light When It Comes (Eerdmans 2016)