“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
I got up this morning with something stuck in my craw (an actual word that is a synonym for ‘throat’). I don’t mean this literally; it’s a southern/country way of saying that something has upset you to the point that you can’t seem to shake it. It’s something that is more than mildly annoying. The degree of irritation is greater than that. Injustice is always more than mildly annoying, at least to me. Compounding the matter is that it has to do with things well beyond my ability to influence, no less control. I have a point of view, but quite frankly, I felt invisible relative to the matter. This sense of invisibility was, perhaps, as much a source of my mental state as the initial cause.
I try to get in a couple of hard physical workouts each week because I recognized, long before the current TV commercial using the same language, that the body is meant to move, and the effects of not making it move can be debilitating, especially at my age. I sometimes find myself praying during my workout, discussing what I’m thinking and feeling with GOD, acknowledging ways in which I may be tempted, and/or confessing when I realize that I have stepped spiritually out-of-bounds, and asking for His help in conforming to His way of being. That pretty much described a good portion of my workout this morning. To close things out, I got on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes.
As I continued my casual conversation with GOD while making my legs work, I began to receive back a barrage of response in the form of biblical reminders. It was a quiet and gentle voice inside my mind speaking to me. I’ve had this happen before, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit doing exactly what Jesus said He would do: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). I was being reminded:
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land” (Psalm 37: 8-9).
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me’” (2 Cor. 12:9)
“…For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Not once did I feel like I was being chastised or talked down to; it was more like someone coming alongside and putting an arm around me and reminding me of a perspective I already knew to be true. At some point in that exchange, I realized that the feeling of being invisible had gone. GOD saw me; He sees all things. The origins of my frustrations haven’t changed, but I have. I trust Him more than I trust myself apart from Him. And at a time when I needed it, GOD reminded me that I am one of the sheep in His sheepfold…I recognized His voice.
And to quote Ralph Ellison, “Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I [also] speak for you?”*
* From Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Random House, 1952).
All Scripture texts are from the New International Version.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2019. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.