By Brooke Holt
“O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” The Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Book of Common Prayer
One of the greatest lessons in my life on love happened the day I had my first child. Until that day, I could never have fathomed the miracle of childbirth and of holding that precious newborn baby, feeding him, watching him sleep, and then interacting with him in those few hours he was awake. That he knew my voice baffled me. When I spoke, he responded. He became more alert and even seemed at peace to know I was right there with him. As those hours turned to days, weeks, and months, it became abundantly clear that my son knew my voice; he listened for me; and he responded when he heard his mother speak.
The relationship of mother and child provides a glimpse into the bond that the Lord wants to share with his children. Jesus revealed himself as the good shepherd (John 10:11). As that good shepherd, he will care tenderly and carefully for his flock. He knows each of his children by name; each one is his special creation; and he has a plan for each of his children, a plan unique and perfectly designed by the Creator. God’s plan has always been to live in intimate relationship with his creation - that he would know them and be known by them.
God does know you. As Matthew writes, the Lord knows even the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30). Do you know him? Do you recognize his voice when he speaks to you? Are you aware of his Holy Spirit that dwells within you? If so, do you follow his lead? Are you allowing him to reveal his love for you individually, his care for you, and his plans for you?
No greater joy exists in this life than discovering God’s plan for you. However, it is not always easy. It means attuning yourself to the Spirit, listening for his guidance, heeding his wisdom, and dismissing the words and work of your enemy. Jesus speaks to this in our Gospel passage for today, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Two voices call to you – the voice of your good shepherd who loves and treasures you and then the thief who seeks to lead you astray that he may destroy you. The thief’s voice comes through distractions and busyness; times when you don’t have time for God. You hear his voice in temptations or a desire to run from the Lord. The thief’s voice sometimes speaks subtly and often blends in with the world. You must have ears to discern between his voice and the voice of your Savior.
Jesus wants you to experience and enjoy his abundant life today, tomorrow, and forever. To live that abundant life, you must listen to his voice!
Do you want that abundant life? If so, you must discern whether you are listening to the voice of the good shepherd or the thief. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you ears to hear and discernment. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer
Comments will be approved before showing up.