There are seasons in life when things just “get in the way” of what we would love to do. Sometimes it is the tiny grains of sand known as procrastination that rub away at our desire to achieve, and to feel productive. I have type 2 diabetes, and recently had to be referred to a specialist due to a loss of sensitivity in my feet. My podiatrist is wonderful, and gently explained how I have to wear shoes or slippers at all times ( no going barefoot), and check my shoes every time I put them on, as even a grain of sand could irritate and cut my feet. Without sensitivity, a lot of damage could be done without me realising, and any cut on my feet could have long term implications.
Sometimes small things matter more than you know.
But there are also big things in our life that throw us a curve ball. A curve ball is a baseball, thrown with such a spin that you have no idea which direction it will actually go. However much we try to prepare ourselves for “curve ball” scenarios, they catch us off guard, unable to respond properly, and feeling somewhat lost.
Experiencing such difficulties recently, I am reminded of the child Samuel, when God spoke to him in the night. The knowledge that God was doing the speaking – which could have been very exciting – was tempered by what God actually had to say. Samuel had been dedicated by his mother to serve God in the Tabernacle at Shiloh, being mentored by the priest Eli. However, it was not an easy environment in which to grow up. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were “wicked men who had no regard for the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12). They were contemptuous of their responsibilities in the Temple, openly practised extortion with the sacrifices meant for God, and “slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” (1 Samuel 2:22).
Their actions were an abomination to anyone, let alone practiced by ones who were supposed to be training as priests. Eli has been warned once about the conduct of his sons, when an unnamed prophet states that God will not allow there to be an old man in the family any more, for;
“ Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained.” 1 Samuel 2:27
But Eli did not parent these men well, and did not give them clear boundaries. Into such a toxic family atmosphere comes the young boy Samuel, and one night God speaks to the one person in the Tabernacle Courts who is actually able to listen. God speaks to a child, who loses a night’s sleep, fearful of the message he has been entrusted with. It is a message of judgement over the family of Eli, reinforcing the previous words of the unknown prophet. No wonder he was afraid to tell Eli (1 Samuel 3:15). At Eli’s prompting, however, Samuel faithfully tells Eli the content of what God has said. He does not allow the message itself, nor the status of Eli, to stop him declaring the full truth, however tough.
Sometimes God asks us to do or say very hard things. Sometimes we have to live in a toxic atmosphere, or experience incredibly difficult scenarios, yet God does want to speak to us, and use us for the fulfilment of a much bigger picture. Samuel had no real idea of the man he was to become, or the pivotal role he would play, not just in the Tabernacle, but in the whole of Israel’s history.
- God will always be present with you in the tough times. Never doubt that for one second
- God does not guarantee an Absence of Danger; He does guarantee a Presence of Peace
- In the midst of trouble, God will equip you with bravery. Such bravery will be required if you have to stand up and say hard things. But sometimes it is worth losing time (and maybe even a bit of sleep!) to double check that you have heard right…