...and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them....he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice....I am the good shepherd....John 10:3-4,11
Years ago, our family traveled the 12 hours it took to make the yearly visit to grandparents and extended family members living in the Appalachian portion of Virginia (home to pit vipers and bobcats). Each year my mother would remind us to watch for snakes, as my sister and I explored the creek and woods surrounding her mother's home. My grandmother did not have indoor plumbing, so daily visits to the outhouse where part of the experience. On one particular afternoon, I was returning from this daily, rustic way of relieving myself, when I heard my grandmother, two cousins, and mother standing outside on the back porch screaming at me to jump. Being an inquisitive child, I decided to stop and look around at what they were so passionately imploring me to jump from. Not understanding what all the fuss was about, I remember hearing my mother's voice above the symphony of the other callers. So, I had decided that if she was telling me to jump, then I had perhaps better listen. With a shrug of my shoulders, I offered a synchronized lob over what I thought was an imaginary danger. Nonchalantly, I strolled back to the house, while my grandmother went into action and chopped to pieces the snake that had been coiled at my feet. Yep, I had not seen the snake.
All these years later, I remember the lesson of that saving moment. The reason my mother's voice reigned supremely on that day, was because I was accustomed to her voice. I had learned to trust her goodness, and knew that if she were telling me to jump then I should jump. In that moment, with many voices crying out, it was my mother's voice I had tuned into, while the pleas of the others lay drowned in my childlike trust in her. I continue to apply this lesson in my life. The voice you spend the most time with is the voice you learn to trust. Jesus says He is the good Shepherd that leads us out of danger. When we learn His voice we will not follow another (emphasis mine). There are many voices that daily scream for our attention, but not every voice will lead us safely. Discouragement, drugs and alcohol, apathy, disappointment, grief and loss, sex and violence, anxiety, anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, hopelessness, and a vast array of other life killing physical and emotional voices that vie for our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, but Christ calls out and offers life with hope and joy. Today, what voice or voices are you listening to? Remember, the voice you spend the most time with is the one you learn to trust. Trust the one that offers life and life in abundance (John 10:10).
Today, Father, I trust in you. I will stop and spend time with you reading your Word and Hearing your voice. Dampen out the other voices that vie for my heart, mind, body and soul, and give me hearing for only you. You are the good shepherd. No other voices have laid down their life for me but you. Keep me from danger, as I jump toward your life-saving and life-sustaining voice.