I have a developing interest in photography. It started in earnest, strangely enough, when I hit a wall of depression three years ago. I couldn’t really focus on thinking about much, but one avenue open to me was to take pictures. Noticing the world around me, focusing on beauty, capturing light became a hobby. Now I find myself half way through an online photography course and working through techniques and assignments. Last week the writer encouraged participants to develop their own unique style of photography – something that is not a copy but personal and a mark of their inner person. That is undoubtedly a journey of trial and error, flitting and eventually discovering a style or, as the writer described it, finding your voice.
How many of us live our lives being an echo instead of a voice? The crowd chants what it hears around the stadium. The young person attempts to mimic the ‘in style’ of the famous and popular. The world weary traveller gives up on dreaming and joins in the gossip of grumpy old men. We are surrounded by the muzak of news stations, chat shows, internet forums and twitter feeds of opinions, breaking stories and tittle tattle. But who is bringing a voice from God into the situations of our community and nation?
A forerunner call involves a season of living in a hidden place with God whilst a voice is formed within us. A message of His love and a call to the world to be reconciled is forged in the secret place of our inner life. It takes time and it takes a stripping down of attempts to simply mimic the voice of others. A friend prayed for me during my depth of depression that God would help me to find a deeper and more authentic voice through it all. That prayer feels like it is being answered bit by bit.
John the Baptist was content to be know simply as a voice; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ (Mark 1v3). God is looking for forerunners who aren’t bothered about their popularity or name, but are content with having a small part in preparing the earth for the return of the Lord.
What is the voice that God is forming and stirring within you? What is the unique message of your life that can bless and challenge the world around you? How will your life and mine help to create a culture of readiness in the church and nation for Jesus’ presence and ultimately, Jesus’ coming rule and reign?
Make me a voice, Lord, and not just an echo.