One of my all-time favorite songs is the hymn, Here I am Lord. I can’t help myself–every time I hear it, I find myself fighting back tears. The lyrics speak to me, to the depths of my soul, to that place where only God’s voice can be heard.
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go Lord
If You lead meI will hold Your people in my heart
Today’s reading from 1 Samuel 1-10, 19-20 brought that song to mind. In the reading, Samuel runs to Eli three times, telling the prophet that Samuel heard him calling. The third time, Eli recognizes that it is God whom Samuel is hearing. He instructs Samuel on how to answer, and the youth, upon being called again, answers as he is told, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
As I read these words this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder…
Am I merely hearing God or am I truly listening?
We live in a world full of noise. We are surrounded by machines, devices, vehicles, and people, all clamoring for our attention. Amongst those seeking our attention is God. Do we hear Him amid the noise? And when we do hear Him, do we listen?
I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time deciphering God’s message. Which of the many blaring cymbals is the word of God? Which of my choices and decisions are being made with God’s blessing? Am I allowing the world to dictate what I do, or I am allowing myself to be the handmaid of God? Am I responding to God’s call as Isaiah did? Am I listening as Samual did?
For years, I wanted to be a writer. Now, through the grace of God, I have published eight novels, two children’s books, and two books of meditations. Every time I sit down to write, I ask myself, how can I use my talent to glorify God today? What is He telling me? What does He want me to write? Sometimes, it’s difficult to write as God wants me to write and not as the world would have me write. A large New York publishing house once offered me a publishing deal if I would go back and write sex scenes into my book. Walking away from that deal might have been the biggest mistake of my career, but I have never looked back with regret. How would that have been using my talent to glorify God?
Every day, we face choices, decisions that could potentially affect the rest of our lives. I have to wonder, over the course of my life, how often did I discern my choices with my focus on this life instead of the next?
How often have I paid lip service to God’s call?
“Yes, Lord, I understand what you want me to do, but this way would be better for me.”
“Yes, Lord, I know that’s your plan, but it doesn’t fit into my plan.”
“Yes, Lord, I hear your voice, but I can’t listen right now.”
Perhaps you are facing a difficult choice. Perhaps there is a decision you must make, a question you must answer, a direction you must take, or doubts you need to shake. When you seek answers or guidance, to whom are you going? When you pray, how hard are you listening?
I like to believe that each time I make a good choice, take the right road, do the right thing, say the right thing, or write what God desires, that I am working with and for God and not against Him (if only). I pray that everything I do and say will be pleasing to God (often, it’s not). There is only one way for that to happen, only one recourse to becoming the person God wants me to be, one path to eternal holiness: I must ask God to speak, and I must listen.
For it is only in the listening–true, undistracted, all-encompassing, single focused listening that we we will be rewarded as Samuel was. Not by simply answering, not by hearing, but by listening,
“Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”
What about our words? Are they empty? Are they merely a part of the noise? Or are we able to glorify God by speaking with effect?
Would you like to read more writings like this?
Amy’s new book, A Devotional Alphabet, is now available! These sixty-second meditations are meant to inspire, encourage, and welcome all women traveling on the road to Heaven.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Gifts of the Father.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, is based, in part, on her family history and is garnering many five star reviews.
Book Three of the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, is now available! Purchase your copy today of the “book that was a joy to read!”- Ann on GoodReads.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).