I know that it is very hard for some of you to believe but there was a time not that long ago when we had telephones on our walls or side tables that rang noisily to signal that we were receiving a call. At the signal, we actually had to pick up a receiver and say “hello” before we knew who was calling. And, gasp, there were times that we would try to call someone and actually get a busy signal, which indicated the person we were trying to reach was talking to someone else or if it rang and rang until there was no live answer, we might have the option of leaving a message on an answering machine. Otherwise, there would be no record of our call and no hope for a call back. We couldn’t screen calls, block numbers, see the contact displayed or check missed calls to help filter our communication.
One of the things I remember most is that there were certain people in my life who could simply say, “Hey, it’s me” without leaving their name on the machine. Because they were so familiar, I knew the sound of their voice immediately. It was a bit of an honor in a relationship when you reached the “Hey, it’s me” status. In fact, I think I recall a Seinfeld episode where Jerry got a “Hey, it’s me” message and had no idea who the caller was. Of course, this made for an entertaining 30 minutes as he sought to figure it out. My, how far we’ve come.
I picked up my cell phone this morning and immediately notifications for five new podcast episodes came across my screen. My text messages icon indicated several new messages and my Facebook and Instagram icons were both flanked with numbers indicating new activity. As I had my coffee, I turned on the TV and scrolled through the channels to see numerous news stations and talk shows available to me. Almost every one focused on the same difficult conversations that many of us are having right now regarding racism in America.
As I felt the anxiety in me rise due to the numerous voices I could, and sometimes feel I should, access, I was reminded of this scripture. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27
I gave thought to what the Scriptures tell us about the voice of God. We know sometimes He speaks with a loud, thunderous voice (Psalm 29:3-9), yet He also speaks in a still, small voice, like a whisper (Isaiah 30:21). Regardless of which voice the Lord is using, I want to be so familiar with His voice that we are on “Hey, it’s me” status all the time.
Have you ever been with your children in a setting where it’s loud and noisy? I think about play places in restaurants or at a ballpark with lots of yelling and activity. In those settings, even with all of the noise and voices of multiple children, when one of my kids called out “Mom!” I could discern that the voice was speaking to me. A simple word, “Mom” was identifiable to me without doubt because I knew the sound of that voice.
Right now, there are so many voices. It’s incredibly noisy and rightly so. Yet, I want to pay the closest attention to His still, small voice. I want the Creator of all people, who loves us ALL equally and unconditionally, to be my guiding voice. I want to start there and let Him guide me to the other voices He places in my path. There is definitely value in listening to a lot of different voices and the perspective of others holds incredible worth, but let’s filter every voice through that of our Savior. He will make our paths straight.
Finally, I want to ask him daily to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24. Repentance starts with recognizing my own sin, perhaps sin I am not even aware of in my life.
Today I challenge us as believers to try to leave plenty of space for His, “Hey, it’s me” whisper. May we have spent so much time in relationship with Him that a simple word gets our attention because His voice is so recognizable. And finally, may we remember that we are called to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20. We must be the light in a world full of darkness and despair and the hope to the hopeless. Love God and love others.
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