by Louise Tucker Jones
My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (TLB)
When my son, Jay, was a toddler, I wore a short curly hairstyle that I could quickly “wash and wear.” Then one day I came home from the beauty shop with a stylish, smooth style. Jay cried when he saw me. This didn’t look like his mommy.
My husband held Jay while he cried. Over and over I tried to take him but each time he saw me his tears started again. Finally, I sat down in the rocker and Carl placed Jay in my arms with his back toward me. I hugged him close, kissing the top of his head and whispering reassurances to him. He stopped crying, hearing my voice and feeling my touch. Then suddenly, he turned and saw someone that didn’t look like his mommy and started to cry again.
So many times we do this in our spiritual walk. We know the Lord’s voice. We hear Him whisper to our hearts. We even know His touch. But we look around at unexpected and difficult circumstances and scream, “This doesn’t look like God!” We may doubt and wonder if we really heard from the Lord. Or, like my son, we may even turn away from the very One for whom our hearts are longing.
John the Baptist was the designated forerunner of Christ. He preached baptism and repentance and told of a coming Messiah. One of whom “the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16 NIV). Can you imagine his humility as he baptized Jesus, knowing he was baptizing the Son of God? Yet later, as John sat in Herod’s prison, waiting execution, he began to doubt and sent his disciples to Jesus with the question: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:20 NIV). John needed reassurance that Jesus was the true Messiah if he was to endure the grim circumstances he found himself in.
We too sometimes find ourselves in desperate situations. A spouse is unfaithful. A loved one dies with cancer. A child becomes a prodigal. We pray and pray yet the miracle doesn’t come. And sometimes we wonder if God really cares. At such times it is imperative to remember God’s nature and how much He loves us.
My situation with my son, Jay, was easily resolved. I simply washed my hair, erasing the new style. As I came into the living room with my familiar curls, Jay’s little arms reached for me and he cuddled into my embrace. This was the mommy he knew. With time Jay recognized me no matter my hairstyle.
Our spiritual maturity is much the same. It will determine how quickly we recognize God in the middle of our circumstances, no matter what they may be. It requires discernment, prayer, and listening intently for our Shepherd’s voice.
Lord Jesus, help me to hear you in the middle of the chaos that often encompasses my world. Give me divine instruction and the courage to follow You. Amen.
About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker and Gold Medallion award-winning author. Her poignant life stories can be found in her monthly magazine column as well as numerous anthologies, including more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. LouiseTJ@cox.net
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