In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 1 Samuel 3:1
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said,“Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
The story of Samuel has always intrigued me, even as a child in Sunday school. God rarely spoke in those days and of all the people God chose a young boy to become a prophet.
How many of you can relate to 1 Samuel 3:1 “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions”? Sometimes I look around at our world and wonder “Where is God?” Where are all the miracles from the Old Testament? Why doesn’t God appear as a pillar of fire to guide us? Why don’t we hear his voice rumbling from the heavens? Why doesn’t he just call me up and answer me?
The truth is that God often speaks to us through other people. God spoke to Samuel, but his message wasn’t for Samuel, it was for Eli. I may not hear God’s voice booming around me as I’m kneeling next to my bed for nighttime prayer, but I hear his wisdom in words from my husband, my mother, or a concerned friend.
Advent is a season of waiting, and boy, do I hate to wait! As soon as Thanksgiving is over I am ready to haul the Christmas tree out of storage and get the carols cranking. I’ve been using Christmasy scents in my wax warmer for a month already! The waiting of Advent is not all about waiting for presents and Christmas traditions, it’s about waiting to hear God’s voice. I know I have been waiting for answers to some prayers for a long time. Each morning I wake up and present to God my petitions and my praise, but sometimes all God needs from us is to be quiet, to wait, to listen.
The holidays are probably the most chaotic time of the year. As you busy yourself buying presents, donning ugly sweaters, and crafting the perfect holiday card, don’t forget to squeeze some quiet into your days. I’m sure that God often wants to speak to me, but I am too busy talking, too busy cleaning, too busy thinking up all the ways I can solve my problems.
What might our hearts look like if we simply stopped and prayed as Eli instructed Samuel: “Speak, your servant is listening”? Often times I pray like if I simply talk enough I can force God into doing what I want. I wonder how many times I’ve missed out on something God had to tell me simply because I couldn’t quiet my mind and my mouth for long enough to hear him?
I hope you’ll join me in taking a few moments each day to simply listen and be in God’s presence. I pray you’ll open your ears and hearts to what others around you are saying. Let’s make this advent a season not only of waiting, but of listening.
Reflect: How can you be more receptive to what God is trying to tell you?
Reflect: Is there anyone in your life that God has spoken to you through?
Act: Spend a few minutes in quiet prayer and simply listen for God’s voice. Begin by saying “Speak, for your servant is listening.”