My son’s heart beat hard in his little chest. I could feel his posture strengthen as he stood next to me while, unknown to him, I was fervently praying Hebrews 3:15 over him. I was sensing that this was the moment my son would hear His call to accept the precious gift of salvation through Christ, but I did not want to impose my own will or influence my son’s decision. I carefully monitored the touch of my own hand on his back to ensure it was one of loving support and not that of a push. If today was the day that my 9-year-old son’s ears were to be opened to the call of His Shepherd, I wanted him to respond fully to that call independent of my desire for him.

The Call Will Be Different

While the format of the pastor’s altar call wasn’t unusual, it sounded so to my son. He was no longer just hearing the pastor, but the Shepherd, the Creator. And as the pastor spoke the words that would bring the faith through the hearing of God’s Word (Rom. 10:17), my son looked up at me and confidently said, “Mommy, I’m going up.” He did not take my hand to need the reassurance of me coming with him. He went on his own to the Father.

As a parent, there is no greater gift than knowing your children have firmly taken their Father’s hand. The Bible reassures us that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). And while we must be careful in discerning His voice among the world’s loud voices, I often think that our greater problem lies in denying we have heard it at all.

The Slow Hardening of a Heart

Sometimes the “hardening of our hearts” (Heb. 3:15) doesn’t manifest as an angry, harsh attitude but more subtly as a quiet denial that what we’ve heard “wasn’t real” or “wasn’t meant for us.” We dismiss it because the voice of our Creator in our hearts doesn’t sound like the loud voices we’re used to. We most often dismiss it as a “random thought” more than a message. And the repetition of this denial is what causes the slow hardening of our hearts.

My son has previously asked me what God sounds like, and how he will know if he’s hearing from Him. While I referenced the Scriptures about the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) and tried to describe how I “hear” Him, I knew the call from the Shepherd to the sheep would come by the Word cutting through soul and spirit to speak truth into his heart. And this, friend, is what I encourage you to consider today.

When You Hear

When you hear, don’t dismiss or deny but respond. When you hear, don’t look around to see if others have heard the same. Your Creator will make Himself known to you if you seek Him with your whole heart (Jer. 29:13). The call will be one of love, uniquely discernible to your soul and spirit. Don’t let the moment pass. When you hear, take every bit of it in, receive, and step forward in faith to the ever-loving call of the Shepherd.