My Sheep Hear My Voice
Do you ever have those moments when life just seems to stand still? When you walk through it in slow motion?
This happened to me recently on an impromptu trip to one of my favorite places, an amusement park in Pennsylvania. It is one that I grew up going to and so many of my childhood memories were made at that place. The kids and I were returning from a quick trip to see friends of mine when we passed by signs for the park and as it was close to dinner time and we had to stop anyway, I made a quick decision to stop at the park.
The great thing about this amusement park is that there is no admission fee which makes quick stops possible. My oldest two wanted to go on the new roller coaster and as I am a thrill seeker myself, I encourage this kind of bravery. Even the long line and the extra wait due to a car being taken off of the track did not dampen our excitement about being at our favorite place.
We enjoyed a dinner of pizza and Crystal Light Raspberry Ice (another childhood memory!) and then it was Gibson’s turn to pick a ride. He chose the flume, a water ride that was built during my teen years. One of my favorite days at the park was with my youth group. Each car on the flume ride holds four people, so three of my friends and I went on the ride over and over again (15 times in a row. Yes, we were counting!). It is still one of my favorites, so I was excited to experience it with my precious boy.
He wanted to go in the front by himself to which I acquiesced, but after the first hill, he made the comment that he almost fell out. And there you have it. My worst fear. Rides don’t scare me, but protecting my little flock? Well, it is terrifying at times. For the last hill, I was my boy’s seat belt, wrapping my arms around him, holding him firmly in place.
He loved it and I loved the time with him. When you have four kids, you have to be strategic about spending time with them individually and when those times come, they are all the more special.
We laughed on our way back through the park, because it felt strangely reminiscent of our time there the summer before. Last year, we were with their Daddy and it had been an intentional trip. It is a tradition to end the day with funnel cake, but the skies had opened up and dumped on us on our way back to the car. Daddy still managed to get the funnel cake safely to the car, just in time. This year, as we walked to our car, we decided to forego the funnel cake, because the skies were once again turning gray.
My youngest is at the age where she wants to be independent. She does not like to hold my hand and we didn’t have a stroller (impromptu trip and all), so the entire time we were at the park, I felt like I was on high alert, super vigilant in making sure that she was close by and not wandering off. Taking a tram to the far end of the parking lot seemed like a perfect solution to our end of the day experiences.
We got off the tram, but had to cross the road to get to our car. This was the moment where time stood still. My focus was on holding my squirming two year old, trusting that my little ducks as I like to call them would fall in line behind me. But my blonde haired boy was anxious to get to the car and he just took off.
A sound came from my throat unlike any I have ever heard before. I could see it all happening before me, the tram to my right, a black truck to my left, my boy running off in front of me. I couldn’t see the car that was coming in the opposite lane, but I knew it was there. I screamed and the most remarkable thing happened. He heard my voice and he jumped back.
As the car passed by, we walked the rest of the way to our car. I handed off the baby girl to her sister and grabbed my boy and just held him close. He wanted to shrug me off, but there is something fierce in a mama’s hug when she understands the enormity of a situation.
He heard my voice and he listened. Time stood still and my boy was kept safe.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~John 10:27 NKJV
This verse has new significance to me as I write these words today. My son heard my voice and somehow I knew what he needed to hear in order for him to listen and to follow. It makes me wonder, do I recognize my Good Shepherd’s voice as I walk through life? Am I listening for Him, seeking to follow in whatever direction He leads? Or do I run haphazardly through life, ignoring His voice, because I think I know what is best?
I think we can have this faulty view of Jesus, believing that if we follow Him, we will miss out on things. We think that He wants to keep us from having fun and that following Him will mean a life of drudgery and servitude. As I contemplate this scenario with my boy, one could say that I did indeed keep him from doing what he wanted to do. He just wanted to run to the car. What was so wrong with that? But I knew more than my boy did in that situation. I had not forgotten that we were crossing a street and I valued his safety.
Also in John chapter 10, Jesus says this…
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. ~John 10:10
What our Good Shepherd actually desires for us is an abundant life. He can see the pitfalls and the dangers that await us and He desires to protect us, to guide us and to lead us. This doesn’t mean that everything in life will be grand if we follow Him, but it does mean that our lives will be full with all of the best things. It means that we will never be alone on this journey and that we can trust His goodness.
I am so grateful that my boy heard my voice and that he listened. I pray that I would do the same, listening for the still small voice of my Shepherd and following His voice, wherever He leads.