Do you hear that voice?
Do you know whose voice it is?
After raising three daughters I have learned to recognize their voices when I hear them speaking. It wasn’t something that I did intentionally. I came about through spending time with them as they were growing up and even after they became adult women with their own families. I hear their voice and I know to which daughter it belongs.
Love has something to do with the recognition of their voices as well. Oh, I know there are many reasons for learning to recognize different voices. Some voices, which their owners are no relationship to me, I recognize simply because I have heard them enough to know. Or there may be a certain characteristic about the way a person speaks that causes one to know whose voice it is.
Voices are unique to every individual. Oh I know there are those people who can imitate the voices of other people so that you or I could not tell them apart without looking to see who is actually speaking. There are actors that do that when they are playing the part of another well known actor. And we all have seen or heard our fair share of Elvis impersonators. Elvis certainly is not the only well known singer to be impersonated by singers, but he may well be the one with the most impersonators out there.
Years ago, while I was a missionary working in Ecuador, South America, there were certain occasions that I heard a small voice within me, speaking about a certain way to go, or not to go into the city where we were living at the time. Sometimes that small voice would direct me as to how to handle a difficult situation. Through the years I learned to recognize that voice inside of me as the Lord speaking to me.
As an example on one occasion, during a nationwide strike, there were riots all over the country. It was dangerous to get out and drive on the roads during those times, because the rioters would block roads and stop the passing cars and burn them and sometimes do great harm to the passengers of those cars. We lived on the coast in the large city of Guayaquil, not far from the university. The laws were such that the rioters would do their thing in the streets near the university and because of those laws, when the police showed up they ran to the university property where the police were not allowed to go. The rioters were safe from being arrested there.
On one occasion the rioting seemed to have stopped. There were no rioters at or near the university. So my wife and two daughters loaded up in our Blazer and started out to the Post Office down town to pick up our mail which we had not been able to get since the riots started almost two weeks previously. This was before the internet and texting, so mail was the most important way to communicate except in emergencies by phone. International calls were too expense for us to make for a casual call. So off we went to the Post Office.
The excitement in the car was noticeable. The girls and my wife and I were looking forward to reading letters from home. Sometime the letters from the grandparents would have a couple of pieces of chewing gum for the girls. They looked with great anticipation to getting those letters.
Just as we passed the university on the way down town, I felt a strong voice inside of me say turn around now and go back home. I had heard that voice many times, enough to know that the Lord was speaking to me, so I put the Blazer into four wheel drive, climbed the foot high curb went across the grassy median and headed back home on the other side. My wife and girls were all going crazy, Brad, daddy, they were asking “What are you doing?” I told them I felt we needed to go home. My wife pointed out that we had passed the university and that there were no rioters to be seen.
I insisted, and went home. We turned on the television which was reporting heavy riots in the center of town around the Post Office. They showed a man who had been shot in front of the PO boxes which were all on the outside of the building on the side walk, Our PO box number could be seen clearly just above the victim’s head. God confirmed why he had spoken to me and turned us around. There is a God and he loves us!
My wife, Kay and I had been planning for months to ride to the Smoky Mountains two weekends ago on our Harley to look at the fall foliage. For two weeks prior to our departure I kept having this feeling, which I brushed aside, to not ride my bike to the mountains to enjoy the changing of the leaves as we have done for the past several years. We had friends from Chicago that were coming down to ride with us. First one couple cancelled and then a week prior to the trip the second couple let us know because of the husband’s work schedule they had to cancel as well. We continued on with our plans to go. Then I had another feeling of that strong voice inside telling me not to ride to the mountains. I told Kay I was cancelling our ride and why. I cancelled the hotel reservations and we did not go. I told Kay I felt it was God and that eventually he would show us the why. The why arrived the day we would have been returning back home. CBS TV station channel 7 out of Spartanburg, SC reported that there had been strong winds two weekends ago where we would have been riding. Trees were down, roads were blocked and six 18 wheelers were blown over on I-40 by the high winds.
Two people on a bike would have been blown over the side of the mountain or crushed or trapped by the falling trees! Thank you Lord for your voice in my spirit saying, “Do not go”. Thank you Lord for you giving me the wisdom one more time to listen when you were talking to me! Thank you Lord that I do recognize your voice when I hear you speaking to me.
Deuteronomy 4:12 (NIV)says, “Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form, there was only a voice.” He is still our Lord! He still says to us today, “Hear my voice.” Are you listening?
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 12 of which have been for the Times.