Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
God called Samuel. Samuel replied, thinking it was Eli. Eli assured Samuel he had not called him and that he should go back to bed. God called Samuel again. But still he thought it was Eli. It was not. Samuel returned to bed. A third time God called. A third time Samuel mistook His voice for Eli’s. But this time – Eli caught on. He told Samuel just who was calling him and how he should reply.
The fourth time God called, Samuel knew His voice. [1 Samuel 3v1-19]
Are you a little like Samuel? Is God calling you? Is God talking to you? Do you recognize His voice? Or is it getting lost in the mix?
Silence and sitting still don’t come naturally to many of us. But sometimes it’s exactly what we need to hear and identify God’s voice calling us.
I don’t do well with quiet. Ask any of my neighbours and they’ll tell you I like my music. Ask my dad. I used to drive him crazy when I was in high school – listening to music and doing homework at the same time. I like, love noise.
And when we think of solitude and silence, I think most often we think of zen, meditation poses, yoga, kumbayah.
For me, more often than not, silence and solitude bring everything but. And I think I’m not alone in this. I think Jesus understands where I’m coming from.
12 At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
For many of us, silence and sitting still is when we are most vulnerable. Because it is there, where we are alone with our insecurities, our doubts, our fears, our thoughts, our temptations.
It is there where we have to come to terms with who we are. And sometimes that’s scary.
In solitude, Jesus was tempted. This wasn’t a fun, relaxing retreat for Jesus. This was hard work.
But think about it. Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost. And yet, so much of the time it seems he retreated. His mission was social. It was about people. And yet, He needed time alone with God.
If Jesus, the Son of God, needed time alone. Then yeah, pretty sure we need it even more.
And it might take a lot of work. And it might be a battle to make it through past all the voices. But God is present and He is wanting to talk to you.
And maybe it’s in those times where we are weakest and where we are aware of our ineptitude that God can work in us and God can show up.
Where he can say, you’re right, you’re not good enough. But I don’t want your perfection. I want you. I want your heart.
He says ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall receive.
He’s not hiding himself. Maybe we’re just not listening.