Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.
It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle…”
Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail…
1 Samuel 3:1-11, 19
I’ve thought about this passage a lot lately. As a person of words, I want more than anything to be understood. To be known by my words, and for my words to communicate, to succeed—to mean something.
There’s so much promise within this story, and I find it so terribly moving.
Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”
There are changes happening in my life. Big changes. The kind that completely derail what you thought your life was going to be like for a new way that is foreign and as-of-yet uncharted.
There’s a pride issue, too: for my entire life I swore I would never live a life like this. Now I have to eat my words. If I think about it—if I focus on the waves rather than who is keeping me on my feet—I find myself shaken. Sinking.
I feel lost in uncertainty save for the incredible certainty that the God of the universe, who created me and you and all the wonders in the world—trees and mountains and jellyfish and more—wants me to do this. Has called me to do this.
I’ve thought a lot about Samuel lately because in the moments after I’ve felt doubt and just an utter fog of confusion, I have been overwhelmed with such understanding that this newness isn’t some whim God had. This is how God sees me—this is why God has shaped me into the person I am today.
I’m not saying that I have some great destiny like Samuel did. I’m not sure I even want that.
But I do think that God has called me since before I was born. And I think it is only now that I have been able to hear.
Here am I, Lord, for You called me.
Speak, for Your servant is listening.