"My Sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 NCV
This morning, I dropped my daughter off at Preschool. All of the parents were doing their best to take cute photos with their apprehensive tiny tots. As you can imagine, some were more cooperative than others, but one could feel the tension of the fear of the unknown in these first-time students.
We all gathered in the waiting area for the teacher to announce it was time to enter the classroom. When those doors opened, there were some children needing extra love before their parent left, some pushing to get to this exciting new adventure and some completely confused. I helped my sweet girl hang up her backpack before she ascended up the hill to the outdoor classroom. The teacher was trying to get the students to stand on a colored square in order to form lines. My daughter wasn't listening, her friend wasn't listening and I didn't witness any other children on colored squares either. Here's the catch, none of them were being disobedient. They just didn't know to listen for her voice. Our little ducklings have been following us around their whole lives listening for (even if ignoring) our call. It will take practice for these sponge-like minds to change their behavior to listen to a new shepherd in this equally new environment.
It struck me just how similar a challenge it is for us. We live in a society and culture that is bombarding us with information and pleas for attention to their specific passions and concerns. Some of those are even good and very well intentioned, but not always holy endeavors. We are so easily distracted by the noise. We get off track and walk around in circles like chaotic preschoolers searching for anyone who looks like they know what they're doing for guidance.
So too, does it take practice to listen for God's voice. His presence is all around us. His wisdom is always there for the guidance. Are we going to Him for the every day frustrations? Or do we only reach out when we're confused, lost, hurt or lonely? If we take time each day to read from the Bible (God's word), we will become familiar with His will. Then in the midst of the mundane or magnificent, we will be able to hear His uniquely glorious voice through the noise of this attention-seeking world.
Of course I helped my sweet girl find a square before I left her with a hug and a wave. She was brave standing amongst a crowd of people she didn't know, but would face the day with fortitude. She trusted me when I told her she would have fun. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be back later like I had promised. She was confident because her faith was in someone who had kept their promises to her just as our God keeps His promises to us.
On my way out, it hit me how very important it is that we are diligent about the voices we allow in our children's lives. The voices that will help to shape their world view. Will that voice crush their individuality or will it enhance what God has created special? Let's pray today for the voices that are flowing into our children or the children you know. We all want a brighter future, so this is the time. This is the moment we petition Heaven for those striving to mold the next generation into godly warriors!
Lord, Thank you for keeping your promises that we may have a firm foundation set in the mist of your unending Love! Thank you for guiding us through the Holy Spirit to make advances for your Kingdom's sake. Please pour out wisdom, love and clarity for those guiding the children of this next generation in the lavish way only you can. We pray that they will hear your voice and follow it as surely as the sheep would follow their shepherd. Please open the hearts and minds of those sweet students to get excited about the world you've created and want to continue to learn more. In Jesus' name, Amen.