When I heard the voice…


campfire

I remember the first time I heard it.

The voice.

I remember exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing.

And I remember what it sounded like. And how I knew it was real.

It was by a campfire. And I was listening to a story.

It was the story about the two disciples leaving Jerusalem after Jesus’ crucifixion, making the long, dusty walk back to their home village of Emmaus, and how this stranger came alongside them and told them another story.

It was a story they’d heard before.

But this time it was different.

Instead of being about what they’d always heard the story was about, it was about something else.

Instead of being about guilt and shame and vengeance, it was a story about brokenness and healing and love.

It was a story about hope.

It was a story that turned their former story on its head. Upside-down. Inside-out.

And it turned out the stranger was Jesus.

The one whose story they thought was over came and told them the real story.

The one about hope.

The one about him.

And he invited them into it.

And in the midst of their story, I heard it.

The voice.

And I knew the voice was real.

Not because of what it sounded like.

But because of what it said.

Because it said something I’d never heard before. Not really, anyhow.

It said something that made me know the story was true. The one about brokenness and healing and love.

The one about hope.

It told me something I needed to hear more than anything I’d ever heard before.

Something I didn’t dare believe.

“I know you’ve fallen. I know how many times. And I know you’re going to fall again.”

“But know this…no matter how many times you fall, no matter how often you fall again, no matter why, I’m here.”

“I’m here.”

“I’m going to pick you back up, get you back on your feet, dust you off, and help you start again.”

“No matter how many times.

“No matter how many times.”

And I knew, in that moment, that the story I had been believing before wasn’t true. The story about how I wasn’t good enough, about how messed up I was, about what a failure I was.

I knew the story I’d always heard, the one I’d always believed, the one about guilt and shame and vengeance, was a lie.

And in that moment, I knew everyone else I knew was believing the same lie.

And they deserved to hear the truth.

And then I heard it again. And I’ve heard it countless times since.

The voice.

“Tell my story. The one about brokenness and healing and love.”

“The one about hope.”

Maybe you’ve heard that same voice.

Maybe, like me, you’d been hearing it for a long time, but you didn’t know whose voice it was or where it came from, because it got blended in and garbled up with all the other voices and all the other stories.

Maybe, like me, you just need the time and the space to listen. To sit quietly somewhere and hear the story.

Or maybe you just need to hear that the other story is a lie. The one about guilt and shame and vengeance.

Maybe you need to hear the story about hope.

My prayer for you is that you will find that time and space. That quietness.

That story.

The one about hope.

And in hearing the story, the true story, you’ll hear the voice. The one you heard before but couldn’t dare to believe.

The voice.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A guy I know named Jake has a blog, and on his blog he’s telling and looking for new stories about God. Because we’ve heard the wrong stories for far too long. We need new stories. This one you just read is one of them. If you want to experience these new stories, I encourage you to share this one. Then, go visit Jake’s site, and read the stories, and share those, and maybe even tell one of your own.

Shalom.

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