Monday, February 28, 2011

Sounding Totally Different

When I was in Costa Rica, we went for a hike on a mountain supposedly to see a beautiful sunset and volcanic eruption.  As we were climbing, we could hear this rumbling.

"Is that thunder?" We asked anxiously.

"No, that's the volcano's rumble.  They sound totally different," our guide replied in an accent that sounds British when I mock it.

Sheep are no strangers to the "totally different" sound.  They're relatively dumb animals but they have the amazing ability to recognize their shepherd's voice from a crowd, even after an extended period of time.

In John 10, Jesus calls His people sheep who recognize His voice, our Shepherd.

Can you hear the total difference in Christ's voice and the voice of others?  Sometimes it's easy to discern.  Other times it's like differentiating between a volcano rumble and thunder.
“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. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”  John 10:14-16
Our Costa Rican guide explained the volcano's rumble and thunder would vibrate on the ear differently.  I couldn't hear or feel the difference.  I have reason to doubt the guide knew the difference too.  When we were halfway up the mountains, the heavens opened. We were drenched through our underwear.  They sound totally different, eh?
You'd think Christ's voice is totally different from anything else we hear.  Unfortunately, that's not always the case.  Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to discern His voice.  I wish I had some tips for recognizing our Shepherd's voice, but it really depends on the situation.  However, I have learned that the more time I spend in the Word the more clear His voice is to me. 
I have this joke-goal of being able to recognize my entire campus by voice, so I don't have to awkwardly venture in the living room when someone comes to visit.  I want to know who's here without leaving my desk.  Well, I can't do the whole campus, but I do recognize my suitemates by voice (and other things like how they close the door, where they drop their keys, and how heavily they step).  I recognize other frequent visitors by their knocks and noises. 

The more time you spend with someone, the easier to recognize his/her voice and behavior patterns.  The same is true for God.  The more time you spend with Him, the easier it is to recognize His will. 
Is it consistent with the God-character shown in the Bible?
Is it totally crazy?  (That usually means it's God...)
Is it confirmed through other believers?
Is it constantly on your heart/ mind?

What other tips/questions do you have for differentiating when the voices aren't totally different? 

Learning to differentiate,
<>< Katie

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