My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
I sat reading in the favorite 2nd Chance Store the Martins like to visit. It was a noisy place but I could make out the all too familiar albeit faint sound of Lego bricks, thousands of them being separated by small fingers. Thousands maybe millions of small building bricks being sorted. A giant plastic container of them being sorted like sand by tiny hands. Roving eyes looking for just the perfect half inch piece. It was a sound I learned to discern over time thanks to a Lego Lover of my own. From the time those building blocks were no longer considered a serious choking hazard prohibited by yours truly, my Boy has been playing with them.
I learned to store them in a plastic container years ago because lying scattered on the floor just was not an option. It would only take one time stepping barefoot on one of those curse-word-inducing-devil-bricks in the middle of the night to compel one to purchase said plastic bins for storage. My Boy has likely spent the equivalent of years sorting said Lego Bricks in the very same manner. Plastic on plastic falling like gold doubloons through the hands of a searching and creative child.
Perhaps it was those hours of listening to the background music of childhood play that had attuned my ears to that sound. Immediately I was able to identify that noise as some unknown-to-me child repeated that same behavior in the giant 2nd Chance store. Despite the other noise of the some 23,000 square foot emporium I could pick out the sound and correctly identify it. I tend to tune things out, I had already tuned out chatter and post Christmas excitement, a PA system requesting specific shoppers to come to a specific location, and overhead classic rock, the kind spun on the retro vinyls like the store sells.
I was reading a good book and found myself in the presence of the Reformation. I had been transported back some 500 years and nothing had yet been successful in bringing me back to current day. That was until the sound of play made its way to my hearing. The voice of Jesus is much the same. John 10 talks of a Good Shepherd whose sheep are so familiar with His voice that they can recognize it and immediately discern it from other voices they hear.
That rainy night in the 2nd Chance Store was like that for me. I knew the sound of filtered plastic building blocks so well that when I heard it in the background, half a football field away, I could discern that noise despite the crowd’s chatter and rock and roll songs playing. I could discern that sound in the midst of chaos. I could pick that sound out because I knew it too well. I had spent years acclimating my ears to it. So much so, that I could hear it best.
When we know Jesus, The Good Shepherd’s voice, we can pick it out when we are being bombarded with the sounds of this world, the voices from all directions, all telling us something conflicting. When we know how He speaks, we can discern that above all else. We don’t learn that voice from an occasional conversation, we learn it from daily communication. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t always spend time getting to know His voice, listening to Him. I spend a lot of time talking but not near enough time listening. May I strive to become so familiar with His voice that I can pick it out of a proverbial 23,000 square foot 2nd Chance Store with the discerning accuracy of those plastic blocks on that rainy night.