The biblical Hannah prayed that God would send her a child. . . He did. As soon as Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the temple of the Lord and gave him back to the Lord. I imagine that took great courage and love for Hannah to release her son. Samuel would now be raised by the priests in the temple.
One night while Samuel slept he heard a voice call his name.
"Samuel answered, "Here I am." And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." (1 Sam:3:4)
The Bible says that "in those days the word of the Lord was rare." (1 Sam 3:1) Even though Samuel lived, worshiped, and grew up in the temple, he did not recognize the voice of the Lord. Eli told Samuel that he did not call for him and to go back and lie down. Samuel obeyed.
"Again the Lord called, "Samuel!" (1 Sam:3:6) Samuel got up again, went to Eli, and said, "Here I am; you called me."
Once again, Eli told Samuel that he did not call for him. "The Lord called Samuel a third time and Samuel went to Eli." At that moment Eli realized that the Lord was calling Samuel and he told Samuel that if God called again say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
God did call Samuel's name again and Samuel did respond. We might have those moments when we hear a sound, voice, whisper, or something we're unsure of. "Can it be?" we might ask ourselves. Many of us will dismiss it or say "I must be hearing things."
Samuel did not recognize the voice of the Lord because he didn't know Him. "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him." (1 Sam: 3:7)
Good news for us - we can know God. The word of the Lord is available to us anytime we want it. We can have a personal relationship with him. The lessons are there for us - we just need to dig in and get to know Him. Below is a personal moment from a young woman who took my Journey class. I asked her if I could share her experience with you and she agreed.
"This specific moment happened to me during our class. I am not sure why I didn't share it. I guess a part of me was a little scared because I still don't know what it means. Ok, here goes."
"I was laying in bed one night feeling very emotional and lost. I had been out in Colorado away from my loved ones for a long time. It seemed like everything I had planned was not working out. Before I went to bed I sort of just rushed a prayer, "God, do I stay or do I go?" Later that night I woke up to hear a voice I have never heard, and can barely describe, say, "Stephanie, this is the voice of the Lord, stay." I was very startled and started shaking. Then I heard almost a laugh, like one you'd make when a child asks a silly question. The voice then said, "Do not be afraid. Stephanie, this is the voice of the Lord, stay." After that, I went right back to sleep. I still don't know what is out here for me in Colorado, but I'm glad I decided to stay."
God still speaks - he spoke back then and He will speak today. Build that relationship with Him, study His word, listen for His voice, and your journey will be changed. God will speak to you and you will find God in the details of your journey.