Whose Voice Do You Listen To?

In March 2005, Pilot and I had the opportunity to volunteer during the Iditarod Sled Dog Race at the checkpoint in Swentna, Alaska. What an adventure, I’m telling you! Best, and only, snow-Tang I’ve ever tasted. The perfect slushy.

One of my tasks at the checkpoint was to wake the mushers at the time they told us they wanted to be woken. Each musher had his/her own strategy to win the nearly 1,000 mile race, and the amount of sleep they allowed themselves at each checkpoint was a vital part of that strategy. I took my job very seriously. Didn’t want anyone losing the Last Great Race because I hadn’t woken them in time.

Four-time Iditarod champion, Martin Buser, was next up on my list, so I quietly stepped across snoring mushers to the spot where he lay sleeping on the floor. I knelt next to him, and spoke his name.


Now, I should probably mention this was the year Martin had an accident with a power saw four days before the race, and amputated part of his fingers. OUCH! Mushing under any circumstance is difficult, but with a throbbing, massively bandaged hand, and the aid of heavy-duty pain meds, it’s near impossible.

So, it was no surprise Martin did not wake when I first called his name. Next, I gently shook his shoulder, and said, “Mr. Buser. It’s time to wake up.”

By now, musher, Charlie Bolden, was propped up on his elbow next to me, to see what was going on.

Panicking that I couldn’t wake Martin, and fearing he’d wake up too late for his running schedule, I knelt down to his chest and said, “Martin, it’s time to wake up.” To which he reached up, wrapped his very strong arm around my shoulders, and pulled me into him. Maybe I sound like his wife?

I was flustered. Charlie was hee-hawing, and Martin was still sound asleep.

After I unwrapped myself from his grasp, I headed back downstairs, and told those in charge I couldn’t wake Mr. Buser. “Let him sleep.” Okay.

This has me thinking about how we respond when Jesus calls our name. Do we hear him? Do we wake up to what he’s telling us? Do we think he’s someone else, altogether?

As I mentioned in my last post, the story about Mary Magdalene recorded in John 20 is one of my favorites.

Because Mary’s ears were tuned to listen to the voice of Jesus, she recognized him once he spoke her name.

It’s the same today for those of us who belong to Jesus. He’s the Good Shepherd who knows us by name. In fact, our names are engraved on the palm of his hand. He’ll never forget, or forsake us. All we need to do is recognize his voice when he speaks to us. And wake up.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out. John 10:3 (CEV)

I wish you well.


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