Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 3
A voice whispering your name in the night. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty creeped out. But this is what the prophet Samuel, still a child, experiences not once, not twice, but three times! Each time, he jumps up, thinking that his mentor, the priest Eli had called for him. Twice Eli tells him that he didn’t call and Samuel should go back to sleep. The third time, though, Eli recognizes something that Samuel doesn’t – it is God who is calling to Samuel. He offers Samuel some instruction – Samuel should wait and when the voice calls his name again, he should respond “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
There have been a few times in my life when I have clearly felt God calling me, times when I just know the Spirit is moving me to do something. More often, though, I am not sure at all! It can be hard for me to distinguish between my own inner voice telling me what I want to hear and the Spirit speaking to me. Like Samuel, I have a tendency to misinterpret what’s happening and run in the wrong direction (or worse, not move at all).
Samuel wasn’t expected to recognize God’s voice on his own, though. He had Eli, a trusted mentor and friend, to help him discern and offer him advice. We, too, are given help. We have mentors and trusted friends who can be in pray for us and help us discern God’s call to us. Not only can they help us recognize God’s movement in our life, but they can give us courage – courage to be open to God’s call and to respond. Samuel’s response was simple – “Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening.” With that bold statement, Samuel said “yes” to God’s call.
Do you already have people in your life who help you hear God’s voice? If not, is there someone you trust enough to ask to help you sense God’s movement? Is there someone for whom you are their “Eli,” their extra ear, listening for God?