Startled by our barking dog, my little girls were awakened suddenly. "Mommy! Help! Mommy!" they cried out in desperation. I went to flick on a light so that I could go to them, but darkness continued to fill our modest home. To my surprise, a power line was down and we did not have electricity. Things had gone from bad to worse, as my daughters were now on the verge of panic.
I knew my large shadow would only frighten them further, so I chose to stay put and have the girls come to me. In an attempt to ease my daughters' fears, I spoke gently into the darkness, "I am here. Just follow my voice." As they stumbled blindly through the house, I continued to call out to my girls. Moments later, Lily and Sofie, though scared of the dark, were secure in my embrace. They had found their way because they listened for my voice.
To be sure, everyone occasionally wanders through darkness. Blinded by insecurity. Afraid of the unknown. Sometimes we stumble through life. And yet, God is there, speaking into our fears, offering His unconditional love and faithful assurance. Therefore, we, as God's children, must be keenly attune to the voice of our Heavenly Father.
In 1 Samuel, we read about a boy named Samuel who learned to know God's voice. Late one night, as Samuel drifted off to sleep, he heard the voice of the Lord. Unfortunately, he didn't know God's voice at first. Instead, Samuel believed the voice to be that of Eli, a priest with whom he lived. Three times, Samuel heard the call. Twice, he left his bed and went to Eli's side. Both times, the boy was mistaken about who was calling out to him. Scripture teaches us that Samuel simply did not know the LORD at this time in his life. Therefore, he did not know God's voice.
However, Eli was a man who knew God's voice well. Promptly, he sent the inexperienced boy back to bed with instructions. Samuel was still. He was silent. And he waited. At last, "the LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening." (1Samuel 3:10) He had learned to recognize the voice of God, even in darkness.
The same is true for us today. These are challenging days for many of us. If we are to know God's voice, we must be quiet and await His presence expectantly. Gentle and small, God's voice resonates through the chaos of this life, and leads us out of darkness. And yet, too many of God's children fail to listen for His voice in the dark.
No matter how dark life gets, we have access to our Heavenly Father. Be still and listen. God is calling. Do you know His voice?