Last Sunday, during a lesson on God calling Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-10), one of the children looked up at me and said, “Boy I’m sure glad that I’m not Samuel. I like to sleep too much. I wouldn’t have woken up if God kept calling after me.” After a few inner giggles, I replied, “Yeah, I really like my sleep, too.”
This conversation reminded me of my two girls and one of the many interactions that happen in our family because of the movie “Frozen.”At our house we have a love/hate relationship with the movie.
My four year old daughter Evelyn LOVES it! Her entire room from the calendar to the bedspread is decorated in “Frozen.” She has cups, plates, dolls, stuffed animals books and posters all displaying Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Sven. She loves to play pretend and dress up in her Elsa costume and the day is pure perfection if she has the chance to wear an Elsa braid.
Her big sister Ainsley, one the other hand, if she never has to hear about Elsa’s ice powers again, it won’t be too soon. You might think her dislike exists because her younger sister woke up to breakfast and the movie every single morning for six months. But you would be wrong.
I believe that her pure dislike for the movie came about the time her younger sister memorized every song and line and started using it to torture her–I mean, wake her up–in the morning.
A normal morning sounds a bit like this:
Evelyn: Sissy! Psst! [shakes Ainsley a little harder] Psst! Psst! Sissy! [shakes Ainsley again] Wake up, wake up! Wake up, Sissy!
Ainlsey: Evelyn, leave me alone [said in the most groggy go away voice that she can muster].
Evelyn: I just can’t! The sky’s awake, so I’m awake. We have to play!
Ainlsey: Go away, Evelyn!
This interaction is always topped off by Ainsley with a dramatic flop onto her back and a hand on her forehead for added effect. This repeats at least three or four times until Ainsley drags herself out of bed and into the playroom to act out whatever scene Evelyn has chosen.
Back to Samuel: As Samuel was lying down after a long day of caring for the Temple, he hears, “Samuel!” He thinks it is Eli calling, but Eli says no. So Samuel goes back to bed. Twice more, as he is beginning to go back to sleep, he hears, “Samuel.”
Still not recognizing God’s voice, Samuel goes back to Eli each time. Eli, being a smart man, finally tells Samuel if he hears his name being called again it is God and to reply accordingly.
Finally after the fourth call, Samuel finally understands that it is God’s voice calling his name and he answers, “Lord, speak, for your servant is listening.”
Why couldn’t Samuel hear God’s voice? If it is God’s voice wouldn’t you think he would recognize that? Samuel thought Eli was calling him. Even after hearing God’s voice three times he still had to rely on Eli to help him understand.
Samuel could have been tired. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect time for Samuel to recognize God’s call. If he was anything like Elsa, my oldest daughter Ainsley, or my little Sunday school friend, he could have missed the call once or twice because he “really likes his sleep.”
The good thing is that God calls us. Sometimes God calls us and we don’t hear the call. Sometimes God calls and we don’t understand it. Sometime God calls and we aren’t ready to follow it.
The good news is that even if we don’t understand the call, God keeps calling. God keeps calling.
So . . . how is God calling you? How is God helping you wake up to follow your calling?
May God give us ears to hear and courage to follow.
Rebecca Caswell-Speight, Minister of Families with Children at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, GA, has served as a minster in many settings. Recently transplanted from Louisville, KY, she and her husband, Josh, are parents to two vibrant, growing girls.