1 Samuel 3: 10 “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
When God first called him, Samuel didn’t recognize His voice.
Samuel heard his name being called and ran to Eli, his earthly caregiver and said “Here I am.” This happened three times before Eli, the priest himself, realized what was going on. God was speaking to Samuel.
So Eli instructed, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. (1 Samuel 3:9)
Knowing that God was calling Samuel, Eli didn’t instruct him to get out the scriptures and start reading. He didn’t tell him to get a pen and paper and start journaling his prayer. He didn’t suggest Samuel start singing and dancing and worshiping the Lord. No, all he told him to do was wait. Create space . Regardless of the outcome, be available.
“Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say…”
Sometimes we miss the voice of God because we don’t recognize it. Other times we miss it because we simply are not available to hear it. We sense God is trying to say something, and instead of being in His presence and listening, we busy ourselves doing everything but. Eli had the wisdom (once he was finally coherent enough to realize what was going on) to teach Samuel that sometimes he would just have to lie down and be available.
It reminds me of the time Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray with him in the garden. There was no specific task, no to do list, no physical actions – just be with me.
Jesus said to his friends, “Sit here while I go over there and pray…Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:36)
Three times He asked them, just like God called Samuel three times. And three times they missed it. Not because they weren’t doing enough, but simply because they weren’t available.
What would happen if we created space for quiet, for stillness, for listening each day? What if we made ourselves available to hear the voice of God?