Is God on Lockdown?
By Mike Waine
No. Would be the simple answer.
But, it’s useful to remember that fact – when everything around us changes, God remains true. When all routine halts, God remains active. When the world is in chaos, God stands strong.
So maybe the title question should be re-phrased; are we putting God in lockdown?
How many of us depend on our church services, bible studies etc for our relationship with God? In our isolation, there’s reason to expect that we should be drawing nearer to God, rather than finding ourselves more distant from God.
What are you expectations of God at the moment?
I’ve just started reading 1 Samuel and came across the story of Samuel’s calling. Three times God speaks Samuel’s name, and he thinks it is his master Eli calling him. Eventually, Eli realises what is happening and instructs Samuel in what to do when it happens again. Then, God does call Samuel again, and he hears and responds, starting a relationship which would greatly bless all of the people of Israel.
This story is a fantastic picture of how we often live our lives. God can be speaking to us, again and again, even in the simplest ways, and we can miss it. This is true for people who are not Christians, new Christians and life-long Christians too.
First, we still need Eli’s in our own lives. The perspective of another is usually the best way to understand ourselves. This is part of why mentoring is so important. Eli recognises what Samuel cannot and leads him forward.
Second, there is a great difference between hearing and listening. With the exception of those with hearing problems, which could be another metaphor by itself, we are all hearing things all the time. (There are sensory deprivation chambers which allow people to experience true silence, and its commonly reported to be hugely disorientating.) Be it the birds singing, the traffic passing nearby, the neighbour mowing their lawn, the radio or TV in the background, we are surrounded by noise.
That, does not, however, mean we are constantly listening. To listen is give something our attention, our focus. To seek it out.
Samuel hears God and misinterprets three times. Then, with Eli’s support, Samuel learns to listen to God. That is when change starts.
Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle."
During this season, Are you still speaking to your Eli, who can help your growth? Are we taking the time to carefully listen to God?
If not, we may well miss something special!