John 10:3-4 – The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (NIV)
George and Henry were busy running about the apartment while I was cleaning. They often did this and never failed to come when I called. Never failed to come, that is, until one fine day when George appeared when I beckoned, but Henry did not. Putting George back into his cage, I continued to call Henry. After a few moments of futility, I began to worry. Where could he be? What had happened? Finally, I stood still in the middle of the living room floor and listened intently after calling his name. That was when I heard it, the scurrying of little nails against metal. Henry had somehow squeezed through the heating vent and was now lost amidst the tangle of metal pipes under the floor. With a sinking heart I wondered what to do. At last, I decided to lie on the floor next to a main vent and simply keep calling his name. I called and called, and suddenly, there he was. His intent little brown eyes were staring up through the vent into mine. As I lifted the vent out, he quickly jumped into my hand, his long gerbil tail swishing back and forth, which I could only interpret as joy.
Henry was home, safe and sound, because he knew my voice and followed it.
Sometimes we can find ourselves lost and wandering as well. Temptation has beckoned, and often without even realizing it, we have been led astray, only to come to our senses suddenly, with a jolt, and wonder what we are doing so far from God, our beloved Father and friend through Christ.
At such times, wisdom dictates that we should be still and know that the Good Shepherd is seeking us, calling us by name to return unto Him. He may be calling us through the voice of a friend, through His Word, through an encounter with nature, or through the prayers of fellow believers. Whatever the means, if we are still and listen, we, too, shall find that we can hear and know His voice, a voice which is more than able to lead us back into the safety and goodness of His ways and will.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to draw us to Yourself, when we have wandered from the paths of righteousness. Thank You that You know each of our names and do not give up on us, even when we have turned our backs on You. Tune our hearts to Your will. Strengthen our wills to obey Your commands, and bless us with ears to hear, that we might always find our way safely back to You. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.