The Lord called, ”Samuel! Samuel!” and he said “Here I am.” I Samuel 3:4  

The Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid , but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you.” Acts 18:9-10  

How likely to say, “Here I am” when called and asked to do something? We may say no as often as we say yes, or wonder what we are getting ourselves into. We  want to be here and do things that God wants us to, but it is hard to first realize what we are supposed to do, and then actually do it. It would be much simpler if God would just show up and say, “this is what I need you to do today.” Our verses today both are about people who were called by God and listened to what He had to say.   

However, the message isn’t always clear at first. Samuel heard his name called a couple times and responds with the words in I Samuel 3:4. He runs to Eli to find out what he wants. Eli didn’t call him and sends him back to bed. Again Samuel hears this call and runs to Eli, this time Eli figures out that maybe God is calling Samuel. So a third time God calls and this time, In verse 10, Samuel responds with the words that Eli tells him to use: “”Speak for your servant is listening.” Samuel listens and follows God’s words.  

Paul gets to encounter God several times, including in a vision. First thing God tells him is to not be afraid. It will be hard to continue on and preach in the various towns and cities that Paul is traveling among. Bad things will happen. But Paul is still to speak, tell the story, share the Good News. He is not to be silent. And why? Because God will be with him all the time. No matter how scary to confront and speak out when we see things that are wrong, we too can be assured that God is with us as we. We may not hear God as directly as Samuel and Paul did, but if we listen, read the Bible, and talk with others we can discern God’s will. Then do our best to say “Here I am” and carry out His will.    

Holy God, thank you for speaking your encouragement into us. Lord, you are still calling, aren’t you? Let us be aware of your voice and your quiet whisper in the word, in dreams and in conversations. Take away our fear. Take away our “safe” silence. Give us a voice to say, “Here I am.” Give us bold courage to speak to injustice, racism and hatred knowing you are with us. In Jesus’ name, Amen  

Chris Gabel