Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and 11-20
When I was a little girl growing up in northern Alberta, night time could be really scary. The howling of nearby coyotes is probably the thing that I remember the most. No wonder when I heard the scripture from 1 Samuel, Chapter 3, read in church, I was struck with fear and trembling.
God really speaks to you in the night? It must be so because it happened to a boy named Samuel. It says so right there in the Bible. I reasoned that the first thing you need to do is really, really listen, otherwise you might miss God calling you. I would lie very straight and still in bed and listen with all my might. Alas, I never heard a voice calling my name!
Now, as an adult, I realize that God does call my name, frequently, and not just during the night. I still have to listen very carefully, or I could easily miss it. It isn’t a “voice” coming out of the blue that is actually calling my name. But it is the “voice” of that lonely neighbour who could benefit from a cup of coffee; the relative hundreds of miles away who expresses joy at receiving a handwritten letter; the call from a justice committee member who stands up for those who need help speaking for themselves.
If the first part of this scripture passage tells us to really, really listen for God calling our names, then I believe that the second part of the passage requires us to say, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.”
Of course, we will have to use discernment and make choices that achieve a balance with our personal needs. We may be called to respond to a chance meeting or to act on the spur of the moment or to sign up for a longer commitment. It could be messy, glorious, difficult, exhausting or joyful. My ongoing prayer is that I remember to listen very carefully, and then, like Samuel, be willing to say, “Yes, Lord, here I am—use me.”
By Shirley Chandler
Dear God, are you calling my name? Keep my heart tuned to the sound of your voice in my personal life and in the world that surrounds me. Give me the courage to answer your call. AMEN