My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27)
I love taking my kids places to let them experience things. It fills my heart with joy to, even now, as they are entering adulthood, watch them enjoy themselves, laugh and play. However, one time while visiting the Children’s Museum, my daughter, who was around 5 or 6 at the time, ran away from me. God uses that moment with me, to this very day, to help me remember how to discern the voice of the Lord from all others.
The museum was packed that day. Kids were running to and fro, and the rumble of the crowd was on par with a live band. I don’t know how he managed it, but my two year old son lay passed out in his stroller, oblivious to the cacophony of noise around him. We happened upon the next exhibit which was a maze of mirrors. My daughter was darn near giddy with excitement, literally running in place with anticipation.
I couldn’t fit the stroller in the maze and knelt down to unbuckle the harness from my son, so I could carry him. In that instant, my daughter bolted toward the entrance and into the maze. I called her name, but she only giggled in response.
She was amused. I was not.
I struggled to get my purse out of the stroller and unhook the, now dead weight, drooling toddler. That was when I heard it. “Mommy?” she beckoned, with just a hint of alarm.
“I’m coming. Just wait right there. Stand still,” I commanded.
See, I know my kid, and, unlike her, I had been in a maze before. I knew it was easy to get turned around and that it can be sort of creepy, sometimes.
“Mommy…” she whimpered.
I could hear the fear rising in her voice. I knew she would run and try to find her way back to me, which, of course, is the worst thing to do in a mirror maze, particularly if you’re scared and lost.
“Mommy? Mommy?? Mommy?!! Moooommmmyy!!!!!!”
She was in full blown panic mode, each “Mommy” escalating equally in volume and pitch.
“I can’t find you! Where are you? I’m scared!!! Mommy!!!!” she shrilled. Her voice fading, she was going deeper into the maze.
I could only imagine what she was seeing. Distorted images of herself. Dark corners. Dead ends. Psychedelic colors. It’s all fun and games, until it’s not. Unable to quickly release the stupid 8 point pilot harness on the stroller and unsure of where she was, I got an idea.
I stopped trying to get to her and figured I’d get her to come to me. The mirrors were 6 feet tall, but were about 8 inches off the floor, leaving a gap wide enough for her to crawl under. I got down on my hands and knees and called her name. I saw tons of little feet running in every direction. She responded with heaving sighs, “Mommy? I can’t see you!”
I said, “Listen to Mommy. Get down on your hands and knees, Honey.” I saw two little jean coated knees drop to the floor. “Good job! I see you! Can you hear me?”
“Yes! I hear you better down here,” she answered, panic ebbing a little.
“Good! Crawl towards the sound of my voice. Go under the mirrors. You’re doing great! I see you! Keep coming!”
Through the swarm of feet and legs, my baby slowly came into view. I kept talking until she could see me. She ducked under mirror after mirror, sniveling and sniffing, until she was within arm’s reach.
I slid under the first mirror and reached out to grab her. Pulling her close to me, I sat on the floor hugging her. She buried her face in my chest and held on for dear life.
Through all the commotion, the lights, the music, the laughter and the myriad of voices, she was able to pick out my voice and follow it. If she had not known my voice so well, had I not known hers as well…
I heard the fear and panic in her voice. She heard the love and comfort in mine. I was able to direct her steps right back to me. She was able to tune out all the other voices and amplify mine. It was a collaborative effort that brought her out of that maze.
Have you ever run away, even though you heard God calling for you to come back or wait?
When you find that you are lost and alone, when things around you are distorted and scary, when you have hit what appears to be a dead end, you have run so hard for so long and all you see is you distorted versions of you, cry out to the One who loves you most.
Tears, snot, buggies and all…
When you hear the Lord speaking to you, sometimes it helps to get down on your hands and knees to listen.
However you do it, get to a place where you can hear that Voice above all others. Turn down the hustle and bustle around you, and tune in to that Voice you know so well.
Listen for the direction given to you. It may lead you crawling in places where others are walking, but fear not. Just keep heading toward that calling. Even if you’ve gone the wrong way for a long time and are deep in the maze, please know the Lord can still hear you. You can never outrun the reach of the Lord.
And when you have found your way out, let God swaddle you with loving protection and comfort until your fears have dissolved and your world is no longer in disarray.
Lastly, I say this: Take the time to get know God’s voice. It may save you in times of great struggle.
Questions to ponder:
1. Recognizing one human voice from another involves many things: vernacular, cadence, sound (just to name a few). When you are sure you have heard from God, what things about God’s voice stood out to you?
2. If it is difficult to discern God’s voice from your own or others, how can you sharpen that skill?
3. Hearing from the Lord happens in many ways. Sometimes it’s a song or a strong and unrelenting feeling, maybe a message through a book or a friend. The Lord is fluent in every form of communication. That being said, how does GOD speak to you most often?
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