Have you ever heard the ring tone on your cell phone and looked down at the screen only to see a number that you don’t recognize? I have had that happen a lot, especially since we moved to the east coast. Most of the time they include an area code that is completely unknown to me. My phone rang late the other night and by the time I found the phone to check it out the ringing had stopped. The message read: “Missed Call” and it was a number with a San Francisco area code. Since the caller wasn’t amongst my contact list and didn’t leave a voice mail message, I figured that the person on the other end didn’t know me for if they did, they would have realized the late hour on the other side of the country from where they were calling.
Then there are those that I have picked up only to hear a long pause followed by the voice of a stranger hesitantly asking for someone who is not at this end of the call! I have had numerous calls from a company in Florida that is “giving away” free weekend vacation packages. I had unknowingly signed up for a contest during our first visit to the Bass Pro Shop out here in Cary back in May of last year.
Each time they call I tell them the same story about how we cannot take advantage of the offer right now due to the situation with my wife. Normally that ends the conversation, but not on the last call. The sales agent would not take no for an answer. Now, I am normally a pretty patient guy but I finally had to get a little stern with him and ended up hanging up on him. His was definitely the voice of a stranger to our circumstances.
I read from the tenth chapter of John this morning in relation to my continuing study on Luke 24:5 where the angel of the Lord had asked Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James along with the other women who had come to put precious oils on Jesus’s body, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (MKJV) In verses four and five Jesus tells the assembled crowd listening to Him that the sheep will follow their shepherd “for they know his voice” but will not follow a stranger “for they do not know the voice of a stranger.” (MKJV)
When we were faced with the toughest situation of our lives my wife and I immediately chose to follow a course of action and a voice that we knew! It was a voice that brought a sense of calm, comfort, peace and love with a definite dose of earnest expectation of God’s best working in our time of need. From the very get go of that decision we also were bombarded with the voices of strangers vehemently telling us to go in another direction. Those voices were filled with fear and judgment.
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary gives the reader an interesting slant to the angel’s reply to the women at the empty tomb. It explains his reply as an “Astonishing question!” And went on to state that “it implies an incongruity in his being there at all.” I looked up “incongruity” in Dictionary.com and discovered it to mean: “out of keeping or place, inappropriate.” In other words, the angel was slightly miffed that he needed to go there at all and explain what Jesus had already told His followers before he went to Calvary! (See Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31) He was surprised to hear what was coming from the lips of those faithful women.
After I read that commentary I pushed myself back from the kitchen table and had to smirk and say: “I know THAT feeling!” Once we threw in our lot with Christ and the truth of His Word I was totally dumbfounded when I saw the faces of loved ones I thought we could depend on but heard the voices of strangers coming from their lips!
Our journey over the last six years has been one of new discoveries! I have come to learn to look a lot less at the faces and places of those around us, but to be more in tune to their voices… for I have come to KNOW the voice of the Good Shepherd in some of the most inconceivable faces and places! I have come to trust in the voice of His love in action, His peace, His joy and in the voice that leaves me with Godly expectations. It would seem that God can use just about anyone that is open to His leading. I think I Corinthians 1:27 nails it when Paul told us “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (MKJV)
So I would encourage you to depend a lot more on what you hear than on what you see! Listen for His voice and follow after His peace, His joy, His Love and in the expectations of His Word working for you. Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s VOICE am I expecting to hear today?”