Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Shepherd's Voice (The Second Sunday of Epiphany)

"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” - John 10.3-5

Some days I think I don't know that voice. There are so many voices to choose from - the voice of expectation, the voice of recklessness, the voice of I'll-just-do-whatever-I-want, the voice of reason, the voice of what-happens-if-I-fail... And when I hear Jesus say, "the sheep listen to his voice" I wonder if I would know that voice if I heard it. What does it sound like?

I huddle my coat closer around my waist as my sister and I trudge between the cars in the parking lot. Our heels clip clop alongside each other, and we swing our bags, laughing at a joke that is just funny because of how we tell it to each other. We laugh, and when our eyes meet over our white Starbucks cups, I realize that sometimes the Good Shepherd's voice sounds like her wise words and bright laughter.

Sometimes His voice sounds like the silent tears streaking down my face as I crawl into bed with Mom, still confused, still wondering how to be brave in this mixed up world. It sounds like her warm arms and the silence we offer each other, just to lie there together. Our feet touch, and we nestle further into the blankets, ruling out the cold and the pounding wind. I can feel the covers rise and fall with her breathing, and I hear Him, making space with us.

His voice sounds like mentors who exhort you over tea and cupcakes to be the best version of yourself. It sounds like you and your best friend surprising each other with letters and cards and music and poems. He calls out to us, over and over, in the shouting matches about honesty and truth, in the blooming of the first morning glory in May, in the phone call she makes "just because" and it makes all the difference.

Are we listening to that voice? The voice that wants to fill our lives with manna from heaven? The voice that spills goodness and life over, and over? Are we listening to the voice of the one who won't stop chasing us down to show us His love?

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."

This week, I want to know His voice again. I want to hear snatches and echoes of it scattered across my life, how it calls, relentlessly, for me, how it calls me by name, and I want to run to it.

Will you come with me, following the Good Shepherd's voice?



  1. "the what happens if I fail voice"....I too often listen to this one. Thank you for reminding me of the beautiful ways we can hear His voice.

  2. Beautiful, Hilary. I love all of the ways you hear His voice. I will be considering the various ways He speaks to me today..... Thank you for this graceful encouragement to really listen.... ;)

  3. this is one of my favorites.  thank you!

  4. Thank you, Amanda! I'm so glad you stopped by. 

  5. Thank you, friend. You and all the Relevant girls are a part of how I hear Him, too, and His encouragement to keep writing. I pray He speaks loud through your beautiful children and your loving home and the bright sun. 


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