His name is Josiah.
He is a bright little boy with a charismatic smile and a charming personality.
Academically, he is solid.
But, frankly, the boy is an airhead when it comes to the practicalities of life.
I joke that this dark-haired, dark-eyed 8-year old is the “blondest” kid in my class.
His situational awareness usually leaves a lot to be desired.
But not this past week.
We were in the middle of reading group when he interrupted me.
“Ms. Purves, Mrs. Goshinmon is calling for the 3rd graders.”
When I stopped to listen, sure enough, he was right.
From down the hall, Mrs. Goshinmon, our elementary coordinator, was calling that it was time for the 3rd graders to head to Spanish class. (Josiah is not the only airhead in this story. Sigh. I am both naturally and chemically blonde…)
So this kiddo who normally has a hard time navigating oral instructions and is often “lost” was the one who heard her voice from far away and called my attention to it.
Do you know why?
Because Mrs. Goshinmon is not only the coordinator for his elementary school.
She is also his Grandmother.
And he knows her voice.
Loves her voice.
And is attuned to it in a way that I am not.
And this whole situation made me think about Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
He said about himself that, “he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call.”
He went on to say, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me].” (John 10)
Josiah heard his Grandmother’s voice long before I did.
And, not only did he hear it, he knew that he needed to respond. That I needed to respond.
So he took the risk of interrupting the class to tell me to take heed of the one calling out for us.
I need to be in tune with the Good Shepherd in the same way that Josiah is in tune with his Grandmother’s voice.
Because we both have the same reason to listen.
Josiah heard his Grandmother because he loves her.
He knows her.
Knows that she has his best interest at heart.
And that her voice is one to be heeded.
Not just because not listening may bring consequences – but because she has proven her love for him over and over again.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has proven time and time again that He is worth heeding.
He loved me enough to die for me long before I was born.
He cared enough to call me to Himself from a very young age.
He has walked with me through every storm, in every sunny place, and even in the darkest valleys.
He gives me the strength I need for every moment of every day.
Why would I not listen to Him?
But here’s the thing – Josiah knows his Grandmother’s voice so well because he spends time with her. They have an ongoing relationship, not just a passing acquaintance.
And we need to have the same with the Good Shepherd.
So often Christ-followers know Him in a passing way.
But He longs for intimate fellowship with you.
He longs for you to know His voice.
To hear it and obey it.
Not for His sake – but for yours.
He longs to spend time with you.
He longs to hear you speaking to Him about everything.
And He longs to speak back to you through His Word, through the voices of His servants, through praise music and even in the stillness.
But you have to take the time to listen.
You have to make the time to quiet your heart before Him.
To get to know HIS voice.
And to hear it above the wind of your circumstances, in spite of the lies the enemy whispers and through the clutter of culture.
That takes time.
But it is so worth it!
To be so attuned to His voice that you can hear it down the hall, around the corner, and over the voice of everything else happening around you – that is priceless.
Because what is on the line is bigger than being late for Spanish class.
He longs to be an “ever present help in time of need.” For you to “come boldly to the throne of grace.” For you to “ask whatever you will” and for him to give you “peace beyond your understanding.” He has “resurrection power” ready to dispense and the “words of life” to fill you. He is “living water” and the “bread from heaven.” He is “light for your path” and the “strong tower” for you to run to for safety.
But it is up to you.
He is calling.
He longs to be your Good Shepherd and “daily carry you in His arms”.
But are you listening?
Do you know HIS voice?
Be still today in His presence.
He’d love for you to know it – and Him – much better.
May we all be like Josiah with his Grandmother. In tune. Attuned. Listening to the voice of the One who knows us best and loves us anyway.