1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
The story when God calls Samuel in the middle of the night is really exciting. It makes me excited for Samuel and it makes me wish I heard the voice of God like that too! It just seems like such a holy and profound moment and how significant that was in Samuel's life story.
But while I read wishing I would hear the clear voice of God like that I am reminded in the same instance of the fear of God. And the fear of what God will call me to.
God tells Samuel blunt and terrible things about what will happen to Eli and his family.
Eli...who raised him.
It's a heavy thing to hear the voice of God. It's not something I feel equipped to carry. But Samuel doesn't really have to carry it. For a few hours he does...he must have agonized over the weight of what he heard. "I can't tell Eli." How terrifying! But Eli basically bullies it out of him and when Eli hears he responds how I would think very wisely. "He is God, and He should do whatever He wants."
It actually reminds me of a moment I myself had. In June last year I was in a car accident. I turned left on a yellow light and I didn't see another car entering in the intersection. He crashed into my passenger door and sent me swinging into a traffic light pole. It's a pretty crazy story with lots of cool details where I saw God's hand. But for a long time I beat myself up because I remember the feeling I had the literal second before the car hit me. I didn't have much time to react but the moment I realized he was going to hit me and there was nothing I could do at that point, it's all a blur it might have been the actual moment he hit me. I remember feeling a sense of acceptance and surrender to it. I thought, "Okay." And I beat myself up about it because I felt like maybe it reflected a lack of responsibility in my character...or I don't know what. But it took me a while to realize that I actually think it was a good attitude. The accident was technically my fault and I had a very difficult time getting back on the road afterward. I felt so much responsibility and fear over it. But ultimately I saw how God used it all in my life and that moment when I surrendered to the event, "Okay," may have been the best thing for me.
Eli's attitude of surrender and acceptance of God's sovereignty is huge and I'm sure it taught Samuel a lot as Samuel will go on to hear many other heavy messages from God.
We can't carry everything on our own. We put too much pressure on ourselves to toughen up, to be better. When Samuel heard the message from God about Eli's family he might have felt all that weight and thought "what am I supposed to do with this?" But God has a plan!
1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about how God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. And I've often heard that verse taken out of context to say that God never gives us life circumstances we can't handle. And not only is that out of context, it's just not true! Life hands us circumstance after circumstance that we cannot handle. We are weak! That's why we need God! It is through Christ who strengthens us that we can do all things.
When God told Samuel all those things He wasn't throwing it onto him, "Now it's your problem for you to deal with." No, God has a reason for everything and it is never to leave us alone. God walks with us through the heaviness, the scariness, the car accidents, the deaths of loved ones, the hurricanes. God knows what He is doing and even those He chooses as prophets do not have to worry or strive: they need only to surrender and obey.