“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs His love,

at night his song is with me–

a prayer to the God of my life.”  Psalm 42:7&8, NIV

Before my husband and I got our new smartphones (which alas, have not made us any smarter) I had several voice messages saved on my OLD cel phone.

Our precious married girl, “Hey mom, this is your daughter…”

My married, father-of-5, living-far-away son, “Hey, mom…”

And his delightful children, “Hi Nana…”

My sisters in California, my closest friend in New Orleans, my bosom friend in Florida.

Recorded treasures of the voices I LOVE.

“Why don’t you just erase them?” my husband asked.

Erase them? Extinguish the lilt of their one-of-a-kind phrases? Send the sound of their “I love you’s” into who-knows-where? I think not.

I long to hear them in person, but that’s improbable most days as these people I love are out of town or out of state. However, if I have a recording, although it’s been days, weeks or months, with a couple of gentle taps on my phone I can hear the sound of their voice and they’re right there in the room.

Without the visual presence of a person the sound of someone’s voice is the richest proof of who they are. The tone and inflection, accent, choice of words, phrasing. All of it adds up to frame the familiar for us.

I remember when my mother was dying of cancer almost 25 years ago.  I lived 500 miles away in a Central California town while she spent her last days with my sister in Southern California.

Her chemo treatments were nearly finished and my 55-year-old mother was in a significant amount of pain.  Although I’d spoken to her on my birthday a month before, I knew it wouldn’t be long before she’d be passing away.  I urged my sister to let me know when it was getting close to the end so I’d have the 4 1/2 hours I needed to be there in time.

Six weeks later the phone call came.  I loaded up myself and my things and sped down the I-5 freeway, careless whether I broke any laws–I just needed to see my mother.  I was oddly thankful for the miles between us; it gave me all the time I needed to process what it would be like to finally see her. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew she’d be changed. How much? I wondered.

I recalled my sister’s comments in our phone conversation. She reported that Mom had lost a significant amount of weight (she was thin to begin with). Then there was the loss of all her hair, her brunette waves, gone. Would I be ready to take that all in, visually?

I arrived at my sister’s home in record time and held my breath as I knocked on the door.

I was shocked at what I saw when the door opened. Who was this gaunt, old woman with a turban on her head? Where was my mother?

Then she said my name and welcomed me in. I nearly wept at the sound of her voice; there she was right in front of me.

I thought about this the other day reading the Gospel of John. Jesus tells his disciples that his sheep would hear and know his voice.

Without a doubt, when God says our name, it is a voice like no other. We know He is there even if we can’t see Him.  And God is always speaking to us, day and night, in our wondering, our worrying, and in our wandering. I want to remember to walk away from the noise, the rushing water, the other sounds and voices that sometimes drown Him out, and listen for His songs in the night.

I love the sound of His voice. How about you?

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