Finding God on Gannon’s Campus
To be able to respond to a call, it must first be heard.
If a friend calls you and asks you to pick him up before the basketball game so that you both may share a meal, and you are paying attention closely, you will be able to recognize the voice and then respond to his request.
If you receive a call from someone whose voice you do not recognize you will ask again, “What?” so perhaps not to embarrass yourself and hopefully you may be able to distinguish the voice.
So, it is important that we listen to the voice of the person who calls on the phone so that we are able to know who has called us, and then we respond to the request.
It is precisely the place where Samuel found himself when God spoke to him. Samuel had never heard the voice of the Lord before and assumed that Eli was calling him.
Samuel went to Eli to ask, “What do you want?” And Eli turned away Samuel because he had not called him.
On the third encounter Eli recognizes that the Lord may be calling Samuel and so instructs Samuel to respond, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
In doing so, Samuel now recognizes the voice of the Lord and begins to follow the Lord’s call to serve.
There are a few things that are noteworthy at this point. First, Samuel had never heard the Lord calling him before and so his bewilderment is understandable.
Secondly, Samuel is called in the quiet of the night.
And finally, it took someone with experience, Eli, to discern the voice and then to have the courage to instruct Samuel.
So, if we juxtapose that to our lives how does it all come together? How do we discern the “call” from our Lord?
First I would like to move away from the religious definition of a “call,”
as a priestly or religious life call, and place it at the heart of each of our lives, although you may have a call to the priesthood or religious life and I do pray that be fostered.
Have you ever just sat and wondered; “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?” “Will I be married?” “To whom will I be married?” “What career is right for me?” “What is the right graduate school for me?”
Perhaps it is because “me” is the focus of the question. Turn the focus on God, and not just in the unfathomable idea of serving him, the Spirit, dwelling far away, but God, who dwells in each of us on earth.
The first and most important action that we must surrender to is: Be still, not in a lazy, “flop on the couch” still, but a moving stillness that requires a willingness to “Blow where the spirit wills.”
Then, we must be able to listen. If we don’t listen to the voice of God, and that can be through any number of sources – friend, family member, or adviser to name a few – then we may continue to be unsure of our path.
The ability to listen is not so easy when the answer we get is not what we expect.
All of our life God will place people to support and encourage and to direct us on the path that serves him best. We need to be able to recognize who they are and that requires a prayerful approach to the situation.
There will also be people in our life who do not have our best interest in mind, either because of jealousy or envy or they just don’t like us, and we have to have the ability to listen to the voice of God in the quiet of the night to discern the truth.
Samuel was called in the night; the night was dark and there were no street lights to illuminate the night sky, and just like Samuel, we are in the dark during our life about our “call” and where our dear Lord wants us to serve him.
Eli was the person who had recognized the Lord calling Samuel and gave instruction as to what course of action to take.
Christ asked his early disciples, “Why are you following me?” Why are we following him? I suppose we want something from him.
Take a moment and listen to the “call” and then respond, “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will.”
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