I remember the first time I heard my son cry in the supermarket. His mother and he were in another aisle of the store – I was off hunting down another product. All of a sudden, from beyond the cereal boxes in front of me, I heard a cry. Although I couldn’t see him I knew instinctively it was my son. The mere four weeks of relationship we had built up had versed me well in the cadence of his voice. That’s my boy. I thought. I knew it was him.
In John 10, Jesus makes one of the most encouraging statements about his relationship with his followers. Instead of taking up an image of father and son, Jesus uses the image of shepherd and sheep:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. – John 10:27
Just stop and think of the awesomeness of this proclamation. Jesus, the incarnation of the Trinity, Lord of all heaven and earth, speaks to you. The intricate moments of your life, as subtle or as humble as you may view them, do not escape the loving gaze of our Lord. More to the point: Jesus has something to say about it!
His voice can be heard, his directions can be known.
Jesus is firm in his resolve that his followers can be intimately familiar with his voice. They can hear, recognize, and follow his divine cadence, just as sheep follow the voice of the shepherd.
Why then do many people have such a hard time discerning the voice of God?
Many people in churches today voice frustration over an inability to recognize the Lord’s voice. Sadly, some may even believe that the time of God speaking to God’s people has ended; we can read his words but not listen to his voice. Yet if we take Jesus at his word then we can be sure that Jesus does, in fact, speak to us.
The voice of our good shepherd can be recognized.
How then do we cultivate this ability? How do we go about recognizing the timber and tenor of God’s voice, spoken deep within in?
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