Speaking Of Life 2023 | The Voice in the Dark
In the military they have a saying: the mark of a true chaplain is that your soldiers know your voice in the dark. You should have spent so much time with them, and they trust you so deeply, that even in the darkness and smoke of battle they know your voice.
Jesus talks about this recognition in John 10:3-4
To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:3-4 (ESV)
We, as Jesus’ sheep, know his voice deep down. In our spirits, we can recognize his voice calling to us through the circumstances of our lives and through his word.
Studies show that even in the womb a mother’s voice soothes a baby. The heartbeat relaxes and the baby responds. Sound is deeply wired into our consciousness.
So, it’s no surprise that Jesus would portray his draw on our lives as the sound of his voice. The actual image used here is probably of a communal pen where the sheep were kept. The Shepherd came to the gate and called them, and they’d be drawn by his voice.
These aren’t smart animals. Sheep wander off, they eat manure, they get snatched by predators. Their only hope is a protective Shepherd. Jesus describes a shepherd as one who calls and leads, not the driving, abusive person shepherds sometimes were. He calls gently, and he leads with mercy.
May we be so attuned to him that we know his voice in the dark. In the difficulties of our lives, in the loud, distracted age in which we live, may we hear his voice above it all—encouraging, leading and guiding.
I’m Greg Williams, speaking of life.