Countless times I pull out the maps app on my phone and quickly plug in the address where I am going. Then without any second thought, I fully trust this tiny piece of technology to get me exactly where I’m going. I don’t second-guess if I heard the directions right or wonder if the app was really talking to me. I listen to the voice I’ve heard over and over again and follow step by step what it tells me to do. Well usually.(Disclaimer: apps are man-made technology and therefore subject to errors, but just trust me and where we’re going, then read on.)
Recently, I pulled out my handy-dandy app as I was headed to a Conference at a friend’s church, downtown. Downtown at night, I might add.
Two things I strongly dislike.
- Driving at night
- Driving downtown
And here I am doing both. When those two items converge, disaster usually follows. And sure enough, even though I listened intently to the voice of my app, I drove right past the church. Why? Because it didn’t look like a church and I thought perhaps, my app was wrong. Big mistake. Now here I am alone at night wandering through a maze of one-way streets and unaccounted for construction zones trying to find my way back to where I should have been all along. How did I end up in this mess? Simply put, even though I recognized the voice, the destination didn’t look like what I expected.
Insert Confession Here:
Now would probably be a terrible time to admit that even though the church didn’t look like what I expected a church to look like, they had members outside with flashing lights to guide people into their parking lot.
Yes, flashing lights of confirmation and I still missed it.
So, why did I choose not to trust the instructions now? I recognized the voice? It has always gotten me to where I need to go. Somehow or other that voice has faithfully led me to places in other states, in the dark of night and yes, even through construction zones and those dreaded detours. Yet in this moment of the unknown, I decided maybe the voice wasn’t right after all.
I look at this guide and can’t help but see the parallels in my walk with God.
Matthew 10:27 (MSG) “My sheep recognize my voice. I know them and they follow me.”
I love this version because it says the sheep “recognize” Jesus’ voice. Other versions use the word “hear” or “listen to”. Hearing makes me think of times that I “heard” what my parents were saying but didn’t pay any attention. “Listen to” gives the sense of actually taking in what is being said and paying attention – which is good. “Recognizing” is altogether different though. When I hear a voice that I recognize, chances are, that I will respond to it. Getting to a place where you recognize someone’s voice above others, takes time. It takes actually being together. The bible is clear that Jesus’ sheep recognize His voice. We get there by spending time with Him. And it has to be more than on Easter and Christmas. It’s a daily thing.
In that moment driving downtown, I didn’t trust the instructions I was receiving because even though I recognized the voice, the destination didn’t look like what I had expected.
With Jesus, I’m learning to expect the unexpected. It’s much easier that way. I won’t say it’s always “easy” but it is definitely easier to follow a voice that I recognize, a voice I trust. Just like the app on my phone has proved time and again that if I follow the directions given, I will get to where I am supposed to be – If I simply follow the voice of Jesus, (that voice that I recognize) He will get me to where I am supposed to be, even when the destination is not what I expected.
Psalm 48:14 (NIV) For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.