A third time the Lord called, ?Samuel!? And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ?Here I am; you called me.? Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, ?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. 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 3:8-10
Samuel was having a hard time discerning God?s call. He heard it ? loud and clear ? but each time was mistaken about who was calling. Eli also had problems, at first, not catching on either. As a result, he sent Samuel back to bed each time, telling him only that he hadn?t called. Finally, the fourth time, Eli realized what was happening and sent Samuel off with clear advice about what he should do. The result: clear communication?God even came and ?stood there? in Samuel?s room, calling him by name!
Often I?m the Samuel of this story:? I know there?s a call for me to respond to the Lord but don?t know precisely where it?s coming from or even what it is. Like Samuel, I usually need to hear it more than once?sometimes many more than four times! And very often, I need to have an Eli help me discern the call. One thing is clear: we can take a long time to hear, and usually need someone else to help us! We need each other that much!
Spirit of God, we are grateful knowing you are the One within that deeply helps us to hear and discern. We?re also grateful we have others to assist us in our response. We pray to be attentive. Amen.