Tuesday, May 23, 2017

From Strength to Strength...Hinneni

 “Then the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, Here am I…”  I Samuel 3:4

There are several places in the Old Testament where this little response to the Lord’s Voice, hinneni, (here am I) can be found.  As I’ve pondered, I’ve come to love the heart picture this brings into focus. 
“Here am I Lord” epitomizes attentiveness to that precious Presence to which we train ourselves to respond:
  • at our first waking moment;
  • during a purposeful pause before speaking a negative word;
  • before entering a room or a “situation”;
  • as our last conscious thought before sleep. 

However, the assumption of this picture is:  we are listening and we are able to be quiet and peaceful enough to pause and answer Him.  
Spring is one of those seasons of the year when this is questionable.  The world seems to move in and take total control.  Suddenly we’re dealing with end-of-school-year projects, concerts, and graduations.  For others it’s corporate deadlines, budget pressures, and the crunch before vacations.  Add to that gardens, flower beds, and lawn chores that won’t wait.  Oh…and yes…we mustn’t forget the dreaded changing of closets and drawers to accommodate the new season.  If clothes are “temporarily” not quite fitting like they were when we packed them away, (or the kiddos have grown exponentially over the winter months), we can plan on adding a shopping trip or two into the mix.  The beauty of blossoming trees and glorious birdsong can only be observed longingly through windows that also desperately need to be washed. 

Ahhh but take heart, my dear friends.   You are not alone.  I couldn’t even get this blog published on time last week!   But through it all, the Lord’s strong and quiet Voice will return. He understands.
Meanwhile please go easy on yourself concerning spiritual practices.  Just carry one verse in your heart each day.  Perhaps it could be from the devotional Jesus Calling that you’ve thrown in your bag or an app on your phone that you can access during a break or lunch.  The YouVersion Bible app has some excellent options.  Quiet your heart, open your mind and simply answer: Here am I Lord…Here am I.

May I also suggest a wonderfully light but powerful read when summer does arrive and some life-space returns?  Sharon Garlough Brown has written three books in a substantive fiction series based on four women who meet each other at a weekend retreat.  They all learn to embrace the spiritual disciplines as their very diverse lives become intertwined.  Hinneni becomes a very meaningful practice for each of them.  The book titles are in the resources listed to the right, and I am very sure you won’t be disappointed.  Enjoy!

“When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the burning bush, Moses, Moses!  And he said, Here am I.” Exodus 3:4  
Resources for Going Deeper:
​​"Sensible Shoes"  
"Two Steps Forward-A Story of Persevering in Hope"
"Barefoot - A Story of Surrendering to God" 
All titles by Sharon Garlough Brown