“Lord, what do You want me to do? And how will I know it’s your voice I hear and not mine?” As I prayed over the pros and cons of a decision, a memory came to mind…
The auditorium filled with a sea of people. Jim and I jostled and elbowed our way down the aisle with the same singular purpose of every parent or grandparent in attendance…grab a chair close to the front with a straight-on camera view of our child among the 100 or so voiced-choir. It was Jessica’s senior year in high school, and tonight her choir performed their final concert before friends scattered to universities and jobs across the country.
When Jessica filed on stage and mounted the bleachers, I realized we chose the wrong
seats. From our angle, we caught only a glimpse of the side of her face looking to the left side of the auditorium.
“I thought she told us to sit on the right side. Let’s move,” I urged my husband while glancing around for two empty chairs. Too late. The place was packed. Families filled every seat except toward the back where Jessica would have been only a dot in our camera lens.
Lights dimmed and the choir director raised her arms. A hush fell over the audience.
The concert began. Resigned to our less-than-ideal location, I settled into the cushioned chair, closed my eyes and drank in the blended harmonies of Jessica’s last high school choir performance.
Two songs into the program, a faint sound drifted to my ears. One voice carved out of the rest of those singing on stage. A soprano, soft and soothing. The same voice I heard drift from the living room during hours of vocal practice, running the scales, to the kitchen where I prepared dinner. The voice I heard chatter away every morning while we stood shoulder to shoulder over the vanity in our postage stamp bathroom. The same voice I heard rattle through the day’s happenings without taking a breath or pause for me to comment.
Jessica. The strains of her second soprano fell on my ears, clear and distinct from the
other 100 around her. Even though I couldn’t see her face, I singled out her voice as it blended with other sopranos, altos, basses, and baritones.
Reflecting on past events, I see where I picked out God’s voice, too, in the midst of
life’s noise. Where I knew without doubt when He was the One who spoke and prompted me. Over time, just like I singled out Jessica’s voice, I learned to distinguish God’s, shepherding me through every decision, circumstance and feeling. I just needed to close my eyes, listen and wait. Wait until I heard Him speak those recognized refrains of love, encouragement, patience, and guidance.
I don’t have peace about my current dilemma yet. So, I will wait and listen, expecting to know His voice when it comes.
“…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…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…” (John 10:4-5, 14-15, NIV)