There have been times in my life when I have been thrown into difficult situations - health issues, loss of a loved one, loss of employment, emotional stress - and dear friends have said to me, "Call me anytime - day or night. I want to do anything I can to help." Those words are like cool, clear water to parched lips. In times of stress or trouble, you do feel like you're trying to navigate a tugboat through 30 foot waves. The waters tower above you, and you fear that the next swell may plunge you into the dark abyss. How sweet are the words of a friend willing to come and find you and walk through the darkness with you.
How quickly we turn to friends and family for help in times of need. It is only human, and therein lies a problem. They are only human too. We must train ourselves to turn first to the One who really can be there day or night - the Good Shepherd who will spend the entire night searching for the one sheep that has wandered off or fallen off the path. The Shepherd will not fail in his mission. That sheep will be found, tenderly carried home on the Shepherd's shoulders, and given proper care. How can we be more responsive to the Shepherd's voice? Not by head knowledge, but by heart knowledge. We must spend much time with him until we can recognize his voice in the midst of the hurricane or the quietness of the desert. A piano tuner can train his ear to hear gentle nuances of pitch. A Christian can train the "ears" of his heart to hear the gentle words of the Savior. Lord, give us ears to hear.