Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ (1 Samuel 3:10)
Sometimes, when I am driving in my car all by myself, I will turn the radio off and just sit in relative silence. No music. No sports talk radio. No NPR. Just the sound of the tires on the road, the engine humming away, and the occasional horn blowing because I’m still sitting at the traffic light after it has turned green.
I like quiet. Not always, but more often than not. To some extent, I have been conditioned by 30 years of sitting alone in my office at the church, silence broken only by the occasional phone call or rare visitor.
However, none of this means I am necessarily good at listening for God.
According to the story, three times in the quiet of the night God called out to Samuel and each time Samuel went running to Eli thinking it was him. It wasn’t until the elderly, apparently sleep-deprived Eli figured out what was going on that the young Samuel was ready to hear God. “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Listening for God is an intentional act. That little voice constantly running in my head is not necessarily God’s voice telling me what to have for dinner, or what the Vikings should do about their quarterback situation. Not every quiet moment is a God moment.
We live in a noisy world, and sometimes those quiet moments are needed and refreshing. Much of that noise pulls us away from our spiritual center, drowning out God’s calling and leading. Sometimes we need a break from the noise just long enough to say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
And then we need to listen for God.