I don’t know about you, but the onset of COVID-19 reminded me of the time when your home suddenly loses electricity. As the lights go out, everything comes to a halt, every sound is silenced. Certainly, the pandemic altered the ordinary rhythm of our lives. But with this loss came the opportunity to reorder our busy schedules. It is easy to let people and events, no matter how valuable, crowd out our time alone with God. But without refueling time, we risk burning out. Finding a quiet place in your life to listen for God’s voice is essential to your spiritual life.
You may be familiar with the story of Samuel. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, dedicated her son to God, so he grew up spending every day and every night in the Tabernacle serving alongside Israel’s prophet Eli. One thing Samuel probably never expected was to hear God’s voice calling in the middle of the night. I’m sure it must have been quiet in that holy place. Suddenly, the boy was awakened by someone calling his name. Assuming it was Eli, Samuel ran to the older man’s side. But the prophet said it was not him. Three times this repeated, and Eli told Samuel, “I did not call; go back and lie down” (1 Sam. 3:5).
Finally, Eli realized it was God Himself (v. 8). Eli told the boy, “If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” What an amazing moment that must have been! “In those days the word of the Lord was rare” (v. 1). Yet, God continues to speak to us today through the pages of His Word as the Holy Spirit presses truth on our hearts. And God speaks to us when we come to Him in prayer, settling our mind to focus on Him. Psalm 37:7 urges us to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
How can we carve out space in our lives to be still before God? Maybe we can use the time we spend in the car, washing dishes, or cutting the lawn. We can talk to Him in those first moments before we get out of bed, turning to God instead of turning on our smartphone. Eli taught Samuel to respond to God in humble obedience, to be watchful and ready, “on-call” for what God had to say. We, too, need to make space in our lives to listen for God’s voice, ready to respond with teachable and obedient hearts.