SCRIPTURE: John 10:27 (TM) – larger reading John 10:22-30
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
One day the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo happened to overhear a group of people admiring his Pieta, a statue of Christ on His mother's knees after His death on the cross. One man attributed the work to another sculptor, much to the chagrin of Michelangelo, who took particular pride in the Pieta. Returning to the sculpture after dark that evening, Michelangelo carved his name on it so that no similar mistake would occur in the future.
Voice recognition technology is moving extremely fast. We are approaching the day when typing on a keyboard won’t be necessary nor carrying a set of keys to unlock doors, turn on the car or to dial the phone. Some of it is available now. Is our soul set on voice recognition when it comes to the Shepherd?
People centered people can identify a rather large number of voices, my wife included. If we really like people and they are important to us, or we have had a long term relationship with them, then their voices instantly creates an image in our mind and we can respond accordingly.
The question this Lent is this: Are we familiar with God’s voice? I had asked an earlier question during our Lenten journey, “When we pray who speaks?” If we do all the speaking when God finally breaks through the noise of our life will we recognize his voice?
Too often we say we pray about this or about that and we receive an answer that supports our agenda or our desires, but is it really God speaking or just our hearts desire? Does our spirit recognize the voice of God?
One of the purposes of Lent is to bring us back into the presence of God, attune our hearts to his voice once again and to recreate the voice recognition that is so needed to travel through this life. Do we really know the voice of the Shepherd?
Our desires, our wishes, our emotional needs, our longings, our frustrations, our doubts, our self-designed purposes … get in the way of recognizing the voice of the Shepherd. Lent calls us to back up, pull away, become silent before our God and to wait for him to speak. How long should we wait? As long as it takes! What should we do in the mean time? We should patiently wait!
Waiting is the hard part and patiently waiting is extremely hard. We don’t like the silence. We don’t like the perceived answers. We haven’t developed the spiritual ears to hear God’s whisper. How can we follow him if we don’t recognize his voice… and how can we recognize his voice if we haven’t taken the time to train our spiritual hearts to wait… and how can we wait if our lives are filled with the busyness of our daily living?
So God we wait… and wait… and wait… and wait. Please speak soon, the silence in the waiting is driving us nuts!