Children trickled home from school, their voices wafting up three stories to where I had curled up in my bed, attempting to steal a half hour nap. But more than to sleep, I curled up to drown out the dizzying voices in my head.
Advice too helpful.
Less invasive, but still overwhelming suggestions.
Pressure from friends to fill their emotional needs.
Dramatic stories that sucked me in (even kicking and screaming).
Stop! I buried my face in my pillow with the sting of fresh tears.
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jn. 10:3) We had just read that verse at Thursday night prayer meeting.
“Jesus, where is your voice?!” I gasped.
The voices dispersed. There was silence. “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (Jn. 10:4)
Every day, someone invites me into their story. Sometimes it’s angry drama, sometimes it’s deep hurt or deep joy, sometimes it’s just a friend who cares.
Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b). What is abundant life? I know what it is not, but that isn’t helpful.
Abundant life is the life that gives life life. It is Jesus Himself (Col. 3:4).
And abundant life is ours even when we are sent out as sheep among wolves (Matt. 10:16). Why? Because our Good Shepherd will not leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He is with us, God with us, Immanuel, even among the wolves.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (Jn. 10:14).
Following the voice of my Shepherd doesn’t make me deaf to the other voices. I may follow advice and reach out to the hurting, but I won’t be enslaved as long as I follow Him in and out of the fold.