1 Samuel 3:1-20
God calls out three times: Samuel! Samuel says: “Here I am” and runs to Eli.
God speaks. From the beginning with “Let there be light” in Genesis to Jesus saying “Come” at the end of Revelation, God speaks. Our faith is not simply about a divine being or deep truth. We believe in God who is personal. God speaks to people by name.[i] Samuel! Moses! Mary!
Samuel listens, answers “Here I am,” and is confused by Eli’s response. With repetition and an awakened guide, Samuel learns God is speaking. Samuel listens and responds. Samuel learns to pray, listening and responding personally with God.[ii]
While we long for God’s voice, in my experience we are often surprised when hearing it, especially to hear God speaking personally. I have not literally heard my name except through people, which is one way God speaks. I hear and witness many who hear God speaking personally. Grace and love come touching me as and where I am now, different from what I at another time or you as another person receive.
“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Here are two ways to help listen and hear God speak your name. First, pay attention to what catches your attention. Rather than rush on to the next thing, stop, savor, and see how it unfolds. Whether beauty, an image, music, or silence, in the present or a memory bubbled up, gaze on what has caught your attention.
Second, remember your gratitude and give thanks again. For what are you most grateful today or this month? What made you laugh or smile? What brightened your being, enlivened you, even for a second? How have received love? That’s personal. Your Beloved is behind it.
God who knows you and loves you, is speaking today. Pay attention and give thanks. Listen for God speaking your name.
[i] Eugene Peterson (1999) First and Second Samuel. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, p38.
[ii] Ibid, p39.