The other night we had an interesting conversation at our dinner table. My oldest son, Graham, is a senior in high school and is in the midst of his baseball season. We were talking about the fans at a recent game and who was saying what, how loud they were, their angst over the last second loss. I mentioned that a normally mild-mannered dad was particularly loud, and I wondered how the voices of the fans affected the players during the game. Graham said this:
I only hear Dad’s voice.
Above all the noise, above all the screaming, above all the unsolicited advice, Graham only hears his dad’s voice.
He then proceeded to say that even if he were playing in a huge stadium with 5,000 fans, he would still hear his dad’s voice. I like hearing His voice.
Even when he’s critical of you? I asked.
Yeah. I still want to hear him.
This totally blew me away, but I think there’s some wisdom for us in what Graham said. In fact, there are three reasons that he has learned to hear his dad’s voice.
- He knows that his dad knows what he’s talking about. Bobby played professional baseball and has an uncanny ability to see the good and bad in a batter’s swing and then the knowledge of how to correct any errors. In fact, his baseball knowledge sometimes drives me nuts (keeping it real, here!) because he can see so many things—again good and bad stuff—and wants to tell me all about it. Sometimes, I don’t want to sit next to him. (I love you, Bobby!) But back to my point—Graham trusts that what his dad is saying is true. Some dads may give lots of advice, but Graham knows that the advice from his dad is good.
- Graham also knows that his dad loves him and wants what’s best for him; he wants Graham to succeed. Again, he is able to hear the critiques because he knows his dad’s heart.
- He has trained himself to listen to his dad. Now, early on in his baseball career, there were lots of difficult conversations and even some hurt feelings, but Graham has learned the above two reasons (knowledge and love), so he has trained himself to listen, to pick out his dad’s voice above all others.
Isn’t this EXACTLY what we need to be doing in our lives? Picking out our Father’s voice? Honing in on what He’s saying to us when we are surrounded by so many other voices?
And we are inundated by a myriad of voices, aren’t we? Some tell us good things; some tell us lies. God, our Father, though, speaks truth in love. If we learn to distinguish His voice above all others, I believe we’ll learn three things:
- He knows what He’s talking about. He sees the big picture, while we only see a little sliver of our lives. He has wisdom that far surpasses ours.
- He loves us and wants what’s best for us. If we only believe that He knows what He’s talking about but we don’t know that He loves us, then we are at a complete loss. After all, any critical things He might say could be construed as being vicious rather than loving. But He DOES love us; He’s proven that on the cross. And because He is all-knowing and also loving and good, He can be trusted.
- We must train ourselves to hear His voice. There are many voices out there. Ones that tell us we are not loved, that we’ll never be good enough, that we’re not worth it. There are voices that tell us to do things that may seem pleasurable in the moment, but bring great heartache in the end. So many voices. But if we want to be the best version of ourselves, we need to hear our Father’s voice—guiding us, correcting us, cheering us on. His voice is rarely the loudest, but it can always be trusted.