There was a story in my master’s class required reading about a modern-day shepherd intern whose job was to take a large flock of sheep up into the mountains for better water and grazing during the hot, dry summer months. The shepherd learned that during this mountain journey, lambs are still quite small and often will get separated from their mothers. The intern also learned that each lamb has a unique bleat that helps its mother to identify her own. I thought that was kind of a sweet thought. But then I remembered that same thing happened to me and my own little lambs over the years.
The morning after Drew, our 2nd son, was born the nurse woke me up and said my baby was crying for me. I was a little groggy but as soon as she held out the crying child to lay him next to me I knew this wasn’t mine. I hadn’t heard my baby cry but just a few times yet already I knew that this was not my child’s voice. I.D. bracelets confirmed by suspicions.
Last Sunday, Dennis and I had the Super Bowl on in the background while we both worked on our laptops getting ready for a busy upcoming week. We would occasionally glance up at the game or at a cool commercial but mostly we were focused on our work.
Then, in the 4th quarter my ears pricked up. I heard a familiar voice. Yep. It was the voice of my firstborn HUMMING on a TV commercial for Heinz Catsup. I had known about the ad and had even seen some early versions of it when we were in New York for Thanksgiving. However, I hadn’t heard the final version and was certainly not expecting it to make the Super Bowl. But from the first note – the voice of my son just humming in the opening segment – was enough for me to know that he was mine.
These past few months we have prayed, along with many of you, for our house in Nashville to sell. It’s been 10 months since it went on the market and not one offer. Then we got calls – three of them – in January that pipes had burst and had greatly damaged the interior. It felt like God had turned a deaf ear. He wasn’t listening. Or if He was, He sure wasn’t granting our requests. It was like He was ignoring us.
But I know that He IS LISTENING. I know HE HEARS MY VOICE. I’m just as sure of it as I am that I’d recognize my own child’s voice anywhere – crying or humming.
We often claim Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”) as though God is speaking to us personally. And I believe that He is through this scripture.
But what about the following verse? Verse 12 says,
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
And then Psalm 55:17 solidifies this concept in my mind.
“Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.”
From my lips to God’s ears!