by DanWolgemuth on August 7, 2020

The room was dark, the blankets snug, but fear and worry moved through my young mind with sleep depriving power. I was 11 or 12. One of the smallest boys in my school, and a young man trying to find an identity.

So, when lights were turned off, my brain was not. And sleep seemed illusive.

One night, as I laid in bed, eyes open, mind spinning, I constructed a strategy for dealing with my problem. I reflected on the fact that when a TV station on the black and white set in our basement was broadcasting something I didn’t like, I would turn the knob (yes, a knob that clicked with each channel) to a suitable alternative. A different feed. A new message.

So, with this metaphor racing through my mind, I decided to do the same thing in my mind while lying in my bed. I would mentally change the channel. As intentionally as I knew how, I would click through alternative thought patterns that took me to a different place.

It worked. Night after night. Thought patterns adjusted.

This story has become vivid to me again. Now, almost 55 years later. Messages bombard my thoughts that stir anxiousness, fear and worry.

God knew. God knows that this is the byproduct of fallen human beings with thoughts tuned to the wrong channel.

My child, listen to what I say,
    and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,
    and concentrate on understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-2, NLT)

“Tune your ears”. Adjust the thought input to a new station. To a new source. To “my commands”.

And again…

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27–28, ESV)

His sheep. Recognizing His voice. Are drawn to Him. And we are safe in His almighty hand.

Drawn away from worry and fear. Away from hopelessness and panic. Into the confident embrace of His love. His care. His hope.

This is the voice I need to be listening to. This is a voice, anchored to love. Fueled by mercy. Rooted in righteousness. Advocating justice. Committed to the vulnerable.

This is the only voice that brings peace. True peace. Lasting peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV)

The voice of the Shepherd. Our ears tuned. Our souls ready… for a new message.

A vivid reminder of a lesson I learned and then forgot.

A new channel. A different network. An altered newsfeed.

Social media connected to the source of life.

The knob is turning. I’m clicking through my options. I’m stopping at the only source of love, hope, justice and mercy. The Good Shepherd.

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