Okay, well not exactly, but I was the voice of God.
Okay, what I really mean is that as part of a four-person scripture reading a few Sundays ago, I got to read the words God originally spoke in the book of Samuel.
I know what you're thinking, pretty cool stuff, huh? Yeah, that's what I was thinking when I first got the call. (I mean how often do you get asked to be God! Especially if you're a woman, and doubly-especially if you're a woman in a church that has Baptist anywhere in its name!) Yep, I was pretty excited.
Then I got to thinking about the book of Samuel, and before I even looked up the assigned verses, I was pretty sure I knew what my lines would be.
S A M U E L !
Yeah, that was the section, all right. 1 Samuel 3:14. God calls the sleeping boy Samuel, who awakes and moves from his pallet but doesn't realize it's God Who has called his name. Instead, young Samuel is sure it is his master, Eli, who voices his name in the night and goes running to him rather than God.
This happens several times before it becomes clear to anyone in the household exactly Who is calling whom. (This is the point in scripture where, I'm quite sure, if Samuel had had a middle name, we would have learned it.)
Ahhhhhh. It suddenly became clear why they'd asked me to be God. I'm a mom. I'm a grandmother. And I teach at a public intermediate school. Of all people, I certainly know what it's like to call a child repeatedly, only to have that child run off in the opposite direction.
I can't help but wonder how many times Papa God has called my name, only to then watch me run off in the opposite direction.
Sometimes I've heard His voice and, without even looking up, answered, "I'll be there in just a minute; I'm right in the middle of something here . . . " When that's been my response, I've usually continued being wrapped in my own thing until I've forgotten He even called. Sometimes He's graciously (unbelievably graciously) waited a few moments and then called to me again. At other times, well, there's no telling what incredible things I've missed out on because I chose to continue doing my own thing.
While I could boast that I can hardly remember a time when I've spouted off an outright NO!, I've come to realize that that's really what my in-a-minutes amount to. My not-nows to the Almighty God of the Universe are every bit as rebellious as the belligerent, fist-shaking-in-His-face NO!
Whew. I'm glad we don't serve the God Who Zaps -- I'd be fried -- but, rather, the God Who Loves, Who Forgives, and Who, in His infinite grace and mercy, continues to call our names, inviting us to join Him wherever He is at work.
May I be quick to recognize His voice. And to then answer and respond, "Speak, Papa-God; I'm listening."
This my heart's desire. Amen