Friends talk to each other; Companions communicate.
Still, the world thinks it odd when Christ-followers say that Jesus speaks to them. Christianity is not a philosophy of life; it is a life lived in relationship with a real, living person who happens to be Jesus, the Son of God. Seen in this light, it would be odd if we did not hear His voice.
When Jesus Speaks
As He addressed the dangerous times ahead for those who would follow Him, Jesus made it clear that His followers would never be separated from Him. They would always hear His voice. When the times were dark, He would speak from the darkness. When the light returned, they would repeat His words in the day so that all could see and hear. When alone, cut off from the fellowship of other believers, the Lord would whisper in their ear, an intimate word of comfort and promise. When circumstances turned, they would shout what He whispered from the rooftops.
Whom shall I fear?
The poet asked crucial questions:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Jesus echoes this psalm:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”
It is good to be cautious and better to be fearless. Courage does not spring from ignorance of the danger, but from a careful calculation that the reward is worth the risk. When a courageous person sees a job that must be done for the greater good, he/she decides to do what must be done regardless of personal outcome. Why? Because, whatever the issue, there is another issue higher—eternity. This life will end anyway. If it can be spent in a worthy, eternal cause—the greater good—so much the better. This courage leads someone like the Apostle Paul to make a most remarkable statement.
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This precise calculation of risk and reward, of cause and cost, made Paul fearless.
These worthless little brown birds teach us a lesson in worth and in fearlessness. They are in the Father’s care! He counts them every day and marks the ones who fall, loving them all. Each one of us is more precious to Him than many of His sparrows. He knows the minute details of our existence. He knows the medical facts before the reports from the tests come back. He knows the dreams that trouble us and what they mean. He knows the dangers around the bend before we get there and dispatches angels to make our passage safe. He knows the answers to our most repeated prayers and sees them on the way. His Spirit warns us of those we must not trust and attracts us to faithful ones He puts in our pathway. As the poet said, “He has hemmed us in behind and before and laid His hand on us.”
The Fearless Life
If all around you is darkness, listen for the voice of the Lord. If all have deserted you, tune your ear to heaven’s frequency; the Lord is whispering to you now. Find the light and speak what He has told you. Climb to the nearest rooftop and shout what He whispered to you. You are more valuable to Him than a flock of His favorite birds. Why be afraid? It is time to be fearless!
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Psalm 27:1-3; 14
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Lord Jesus, You have hemmed me in behind and before and laid Your hand on me. There is no way for me to know the number of times You have rescued me from danger or even death. You have whispered to me when no one else could I hear. Your voice has come to me in the darkest of times. Help me speak in the light and shout from the rooftops the things You have said. I want to be a fearless disciple, an apostle sent on a mission from You. This takes courage, so make me fearless, Lord Jesus! Amen.
His Eye Is on the Sparrow
Words: Civilla D. Martin: Music: Charles H, Hudson
- Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is he:
his eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
his eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)
for his eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me.
- “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on his goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.
- Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When song gives place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to him; from care, he sets me free:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.