There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly… --Frederick Faber (You’ve already heard this quote once. I’m sure you’ll see it again.)
In the following anecdote from Today’s Christian Woman, a healthcare worker from Kirbyville, Texas relates what happened one day when a young patient pressed the “call nurse” button in his hospital room:
I neglected to tell my new patient, a little boy, how his hospital room intercom worked. Soon his light flashed. I called his name and asked what he wanted. There was complete silence. I repeated myself. After a long pause he said, "Jesus, I hear you but I don't see you. Where are you?" I couldn't wait to get to his room and give him a hug.
How could I read this and not think about the boy Samuel in the temple, asleep by the Ark of the Covenant and hearing the call of God? And it’s a funny story, because we know, of course, that it wasn’t Jesus. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for a voice that we suddenly hear. There must be someone—another person—speaking on a microphone.
And while it’s probably best that we don’t automatically assume that the voice we’re hearing is coming from God. I wonder how far in the opposite direction I’ve swung. I wonder if it would ever occur to me that God is speaking to me right now. If the boy is displaying appropriately childlike faith, how often do I fail to show any kind of faith at all?
This Sunday, we’re going to continue our look at the encounter with God that Samuel has in the temple at Shiloh, starting with the God’s call to Samuel. It’s wonderful that Eli instructs Samuel to respond the way he does. It’s wonderful that Samuel has the faith and courage to listen to the old priest. But most wonderful of all is the fact that God calls out to us. It doesn’t begin with us, it always begins with God. I hope we’ll be able to look at our own lives and see how God has faithfully called out to us.