Discerning the Shepherd’s voice

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.-John 10:1-4

I used to be quite confident about hearing God’s voice. Then I met schizophrenic people who hear voices constantly. I met people who use God’s name for their own self-centered goals. It made me question myself; Am I  really listening to God’s voice, or am I just fooling myself ? I became a little embarrassed about claiming to hear God’s voice. This is not a bad thing. We should be careful how we speak about God. His Name has been used in a frivolous manner. Instead of saying He speaks to us, it would be more powerful to show how His words have changed our lives. This would be a true sign of God’s actions in our lives.

John the Baptist said to those who coming to get baptized to bear fruits to show their true devotion. People can claim to hear God’s voice but the Word of God must produce fruits consistent with the Nature of God. In the Book of Genesis, the words of God always produces goodness in the concrete sense. They bring forth beauty and order.  Order, in the Biblical sense, leads to conditions that are conducive to a complete and fulfilled Life. Therefore, anyone who claims to listen to God’s voice must manifest the actions of beauty and orderly love that lead to an abundant life. Besides, the words of God are always manifest in actions. In a way, they are synonymous.

I write this meditation with two particular teenagers, Yuri and Bruno, in mind. Both are in a crucial stage in their lives. They have listened to different voices in the past and were led them down the path of self-destruction. Now, they want to discern the voice of the Good Shepherd. They don’t know how to do it.

No religion can make God speak or act in our lives. Our rituals and ceremonies cannot make Him act. Our knowledge and doctrines do not make Him speak. God will only speak and act if it is in His nature.

Jesus, for Christians, is the evidence of God’s personal desire to act in our lives. The Gospel of John refers to Jesus as the Logos, which is inadequately translated as the Word, but for this post this translation will suffice. It reflects God’s willingness to communicate to the world. The image of the personal God is reiterated further through the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd seeks and comforts His sheep with His voice. His words bring healing and peace to our souls. His words bring beauty to our lives. They lead us to abundant Life.

Still, there is the question of how to discern God’s voice. We cannot teach people how to hear God’s voice but we can show them that He still speaks today. The best way to do this is to follow where His voice leads us. We heard His melodic voice calling us here and it has lead us to Yuri and Bruno. The Good Shepherd has enriched our lives with the presence of these two boys and many others like them. We can tell Yuri and Bruno that we are here because the Lord’s voice brought us here. The sound of His voice is our compensation. Perhaps for the time being they may not be able to discern His voice clearly. One day they will discern it for themselves and they will realize that He has always been speaking to them.