I was jolted out of a deep and dreamy sleep by my vibrating cell on my night stand. Light beamed through the crack in my window shade, a sharp focused ray of sunshine right in my face. Blinded and disoriented, I fumbled for my phone.
As my eyes adjusted, the room looked somehow different. The sun seemed brighter, the room felt bigger, the air smelled fresher and there was almost a glossy shine to everything. A bright, clean fog seemed to rest over the room. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Was I really awake? Was I waking up inside my dream? Or something altogether different?
Still trying to get my bearings, I had no sense of time. Was it morning? I had no recollection of going to bed the night before. Was I enjoying a rare Saturday afternoon nap? Was it the weekend or weekday? Where was Keri? Where were the boys?
The one question that could be immediately answered, I thought, was who is calling me and waking me from such a deep and pleasant sleep? I grabbed my phone and looked at the caller ID.
Great! Another telemarking robocall. I usually let those go directly to voicemail. Yet, in my dilirium I unthinkingly answered.
The voice on the other end sounded strange and yet very familiar. He certainly spoke as if he knew me well. His tone was friendly and comforting. He spoke with the confidence and directness of a sales professional, and yet the warmth and sincerity of a best friend or loving grandparent.
“Who is this?” I said.
“Come on, Jeremy, you don’t recognize my voice?” he said with a playful tone.
“Ah, well, yeah…but no.” I fumbled. “I mean, you sound familiar but I’m having trouble placing it.”
“I know you know my voice, Jeremy. Let me give you a clue,” he said.
Then the man began quoting scripture on the other end of the phone.
“My sheep recognize my voice and come to me. I call my own sheep by name and lead them out. I walk ahead of them, and they follow me because they know my voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
A powerful rush of fear and excitment overtook me as he spoke these words. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and I was struck speechless in a moment where confusion and clarity collided.
No, it couldn’t be. Now I know I must certainly be dreaming. I must be sleeping off a bad migraine and the meds are giving me strange dreams.
“Hello?” the voice said after a long silence. “Jeremy, are you still there? Do you know who this is?”
I couldn’t bring myself to answer out loud in that moment. But I knew very well, and it was the kind of “knowledge” that comes from the deepest part of our being. Oh, my mind still had doubts. Common sense laughed at the notion. My body shook with fear. But my soul knew very well who was on the other end of that strange and fateful phone call.
“Jesus?” I finally managed to say, feeling like every shred of my sanity had now gone out the window.
“Jeremy, I knew you would know my voice,” Jesus said. “You’d be surprised how many people hang up at this point in the conversation.”
I heard a chuckle on the other end. I tried to laugh too, but in my presence state could only manage a half smile.
“So, Jeremy, you’re probably wondering why I am calling you like this. I have a special invitation for you. Are you up for an adventure?”
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PERSONAL REFLECTION: Do you believe God speaks to people today? How does he do it? When was the last time you got a message from God? Were there particular circumstances that made you more receptive to hearing his voice? Do you think He has tried to speak to you and you have not heard, or “hung up” in disbelief?
SCRIPTURE MEDITATION: Read John 10:1-6 and Hebrews 3:15.
PRAYER: Jesus, I invite you to jolt me out of our my spiritual slumber and to get my attention in whatever way necessary. I long to hear from you today. Open my ears and give me spiritual eyes to see you. Help me to know your voice and distinguish it from the voices that mean to lead me astray. Amen.