My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, John 10:27-28

good sheperd 10.19.15Have you ever been in a large crowd of people and heard a voice you recognized. They weren’t shouting to be heard above the crowd. They weren’t trying in any way to get your attention. In fact, they may not have even been talking with you. But you heard their voice and your attention was turned to the sound at least in your mind, if not physically.

I find that happening often with my wife when we are in a situation where we are in a large gathering but not necessarily together. It might be her laugh that catches my ear. It might be just her voice. But when I hear it, even if it doesn’t change the conversation I’m in, I am comforted by her presence.

When we are in tune with someone spiritually and/or emotionally it’s like that. There may even be times we aren’t in the same place, but we hear a voice in our heads that reminds us of the one we love.

I would imagine that’s what Jesus was likening his teaching to in John 10. He is in the middle of a discourse in which he likens himself to a good shepherd and his followers to sheep in his flock. The sheep grow so accustomed to the voice of their shepherd that when he calls them they automatically respond.

In the hill country of Israel, shepherds would often join together to watch over the sheep in the middle of the night. When morning came, they would call their sheep, many of whom had intermingled with other flocks. When they heard the voice of their own shepherd they would respond because they knew him. His voice was the voice they knew to provide them with cool streams and green pastures. His voice was the one they recognized as being the calming voice when they passed through the valley of the shadow of death. His voice was the one they relied on when they were helplessly and hopelessly surrounded by the enemy.

The same is true for us today. Are you in the midst of a crowd of struggles and temptations that have separated you from your faith? Has the darkness of worry, frustration or broken dreams caused you to lose sight of the one you once relied on for strength? He’s still calling for you, you know. He’s not calling you out of anger or disappointment. Your failures aren’t a surprise to him. He’s calling you as a loving Father, a concerned friend, a compassionate lover. Nothing you have ever done will snatch you out of his hand.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I’ve lost your voice in the crowd of voices that desire to pull me away from your protection and destroy my faith in you and myself. Draw me into your arms. Empower me to hear your voice above the din of this world. Thank you for loving me enough to seek me out. Amen.