Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, CSB
Listening to the Voice of Love
I grew up on a street with tall oak trees and a cul-de-sac, with wagging tails behind some fences and growls behind others. I’d play on this street with my friends until it grew to be twilight, the sky turning an inky purple. Just as the street lights came on and the fireflies began to blink my Mama would lean out the front door and holler, “Hoooolllllleeeeyyyy!”
On many occasions I would be too enraptured by a game of hide and seek or throwing around an old tennis ball or confessing in truth-or-dare to pay a bit of attention to this first round of summoning. So what did my Mama do? Shut the door and let me sleep on the sidewalk? Shove my dinner onto the lawn because I wasn’t listening? Nope, she’d repeat my name until at some point I responded, until I came running home.
The story of young Samuel reminds me of this and I think it’s good news for all of us. Because sometimes we treat being called by God like it’s a one-time thing. We’d better not miss it or we’ll be locked out of His plan for our lives. We’ll miss His will and there will be no second chances. But I’m coming to understand that God doesn’t just call us once — He keeps on calling.
He knows we’re human and we get distracted by life and hurt and to-do lists. He understands that pain or confusion or busyness can make us cover our ears. But He doesn’t give up on us. He beckons us again and again until we listen, until we come.
Let’s say with Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” Yes, God, Your children are running to You. We want to hear Your heart in this moment, this day, this thin little slice of eternity that’s 2018.
— Holley Gerth
If you’d like a simple, quick way to listen for God’s voice in your life this year, try the Strong, Brave, Loved 21 Day Challenge.