By Gail Marsh
The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Stop for a moment. Listen. What sounds can you hear? Overhead lights buzzing? Perhaps sounds from the HVAC system or voices from another room? Can you hear a distant television or a vehicle as it passes by outside? Sounds are all around us. Birds twitter. Dogs bark. Children chatter and hearts beat. Sound is everywhere.
Noise is a different kind of sound. We cringe when we hear an odd noise coming from our car or dishwasher. We tire of politicians’ noise as they boisterously campaign for our votes. We wish we could mute the noise of advertisers who shout to tout their products, and we can become overwhelmed by the noise of family members and friends when they argue or fight. Noise is everywhere.
Perhaps the loudest sound of all is the never-ending cacophony that plays over and over within our own hearts and minds. It’s the clamor that comes from the deepest parts of our selves. It accuses: “You’ll never be enough, do enough, or measure up! You are worthless!” It’s the turmoil of our conscience, reminding us: “You constantly disappoint.” It’s the unrelenting earworm of Satan’s sneer, even as he whispers to our hearts, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
But wait! There are other sounds: Listen! It’s the sound of a father’s footsteps on the hard-packed sand. Listen as the steps quicken until the father’s running as he joyfully rushes out to greet his prodigal! Can you hear the sighs of relief as he envelops his son in a mighty hug?
Listen! Can you hear the increasingly hoarse voice of a loving shepherd? Listen as he relentlessly calls out, again and again, until he finds his lost sheep. Now can you hear the shepherd’s whoop of joy?
Listen! This is the most important, the loudest sound of all—an undeniably victorious pronouncement that echoes throughout eternity. It’s the voice of your Savior-Redeemer declaring: “It is finished!” This sound causes a domino effect of further noise: a temple curtain rips; heavy chains break; shackles fall to the ground; incredulous shouts of joy come from captives now free from sin and death, regret, and shame. What a beautiful sound, “It is finished!” But that’s not all! Listen! There comes the sound of a powerful earthquake; the low rumble of a boulder as it tumbles away; and the beautiful voice of an angel declaring, “Jesus is not here! He is risen as he said.”
Over and over in Scripture, the Lord implores us to listen—listen for the sound of his voice. God’s voice is the only real sound that matters. We hear it every time we read or hear his Word. Our risen and triumphant Savior speaks to us today. His voice is strong, sure. Jesus reminds each one of us that we are enough. He has made us to be enough—in him. We are strong because his strength lives within us and his power reigns supreme. We are living in this time and in this place because Jesus placed us here. Right here. Right now.
If we say, “I can’t,” Christ replies, “I can and did!” If we say, “I’m a failure,” Jesus reminds us that we are no such thing! We are forgiven children of the most high King. We are confident because we know our future is secure because Christ died to make us his very own. Listen to the voice of Jesus! He’s talking to you. He’s saying, “I love you. I forgive you. I’ll help you live and glorify me. You are mine. Forever!” Don’t you just love the sound of that?!
Let’s pray: Wonderful is your love for us, O Lord! We praise you! You have redeemed us and become our strength. We are confident in our future because it is secured by you, and you call us yours, forever! Teach us to listen for your voice, to hear your love and forgiveness equipping us for each day. Help us to honor you by caring for those you bring across our path. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from a Ministry Message for the Forgiven and Free line of products.