The telephone rang and 11-year-old Caleb ran to pick it up.
“He’s not here right now,” Caleb said.
I whispered, “Ask who it is.”
Caleb talked a while longer, and again I whispered, a bit louder, “Ask who It is!”
He laughed at something the caller said, and replied, “Okay,” and hung up.
Exasperated, I scolded, “Who was it? You didn’t ask!”
Caleb calmly said, “That was Mark. He’s my teacher, and I know his voice.”
When my first child was born, the doctor was tending to me. My newborn son was crying as the nurse cleaned him at a nearby table. My husband went to our son and spoke his name. He immediately stopped crying and turned his face toward his father.
A few years later, Donnie played on a church slow-pitch softball league. My 2-year-old son loved wearing his dad’s hat and carrying his baseball mitt around.
We became friends with a fellow team member and his wife, Robert and Louise. Robert had a big beard like my husband, and a similar stocky build.
At the end of one of the games, my little boy ran out on the field and exclaimed, “Daddy, Daddy! Can I have your hat,” as he tugged on Robert’s shirt. Robert, somewhat amused, turned around and placed his cap on my son’s head and laughed, “Sure!” But as soon as Robert spoke, my boy instantly realized, THIS WAS NOT HIS DADDY! He was embarrassed and threw the hat from his head and ran to his daddy.
As a young Christian I was troubled with the “spirituality” that all my friends in my Youth With A Mission school had that I somehow lacked. I heard fellow students say, “The Lord told me . . . “ and it seemed to always be something impressive.
Dick Schroeder, one of the leaders of the school, was sitting cross-legged on the balcony of the classroom, playing his guitar and rocking back and forth as he sang scripture songs that were popular in the ‘70s.
I interrupted him. “How can I hear God’s voice?” I demanded.
He continued to play his guitar, and smiled as he contemplated how to answer me.
Without stopping he replied, “You already do. The Bible says in John 10:27, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’, so you just need to realize it’s Him when He speaks.
“You are a young Christian, so you are a lamb. Sometimes the lambs follow the sheep, and the sheep follow the voice of the master, but as you grow, you will realize you heard His voice all along. Sheep know the master’s voice because the sheep and the master spend time together.”
We are currently living in uncertain times. Through government mandates, many are at home trying to protect their health but worry about the financial implications. Some are still working, but fear for their safety. Some have a total confidence in the Lord. Some trust the government and the media. Some don’t believe it’s as bad as they are saying, yet other people are paralyzed in fear.
There are so many voices out there telling us what to think, what to do, and how to spend our days, but there has never been a time in my life that I see the necessity of recognizing the voice of the Lord than I do right now.
It’s time to put aside the distractions of life and find your quiet place with Jesus. Read your Bible, pray, recommit your life and hear His voice.
Even before we respond to the Lord, He is calling us to surrender to Him. Just like the father and mother’s voices were heard by the infant before it was born, when the newborn enters into the cold scary world, the voice of the parent becomes a voice of comfort and security. They recognize the voice and they trust that voice.
And just like the 2-year-old, if we have spent time with the Father, we might tug on the wrong shirt for answers, but we quickly recognize that we are tugging on the wrong shirt when the voice isn’t our Father’s.
Your neighbors have heard the voice of God calling them, speaking to their conscience, and they need sheep to lead them to the shepherd, Jesus Christ. They need a voice to speak the word of the Lord. How can you be that voice?
The fields are ready for harvest. People are looking for answers. Think of ways to reach out to your neighbors during this time of social distancing. Ask the Lord for creative ways to reach out. This is our opportunity. People are ready to listen. Many are afraid, and no matter what, this event is of “Biblical proportion.” They want answers for the hope that is in you.
How can you reach out during a time of social distancing?
Here are a few ideas:
- Make a colorful poster and put it on your porch proclaiming that you are praying for them.
- Put a teddy bear in your window so children can spot them on their “bear hunt” through your neighborhood. (That’s a thing right now.)
- Give your neighbors each a flower with a note of encouragement attached.
- Mail neighbors or friends a handwritten note telling them you were thinking about them, and ask if there’s anything they need prayer for.
- Take a prayer walk around the neighborhood. Greet anyone you might meet and be available to talk if they seem open to it. You don’t have to be closer than 6 feet apart to accomplish this!
- Call an elderly person or someone you know with a compromised immune system and ask them if you can go to the store for them. And while you’re at it, ask if they have anything they want you to pray for.
- Make eye contact with people you meet on your “necessary” runs to the grocery store and greet them with kindness. (Many people are afraid to talk because they don’t know if that’s allowed!)
They may be able to mandate social distancing, there is no mandate against praying and caring for your family, friends, and neighbors.
For fun, go to YouTube and type in, “farmer calling his sheep.” And if you have children, share the delightful videos with them. There are several videos, and they are heartwarming as you can just imagine how Jesus, the good shepherd calls His own.