“Hey, you! I’m trying to get your attention!”

Camping with mom–she always watched out for me & the Lord does the same for us.

Shouting! A way to lose your voice. Do you remember shouting at games, a concert, being hurt, needing help, or maybe used in anger?   Sometimes we have this insatiable desire to shout—we’ve reached our wits end or can’t contain some joyous news. Shout is defined as uttering a loud call or cry (In Hebrew, the word for shout is RUWA: isn’t it interesting that the battle cry for the US Marines is HOORAH?); typically, it is an expression of a strong emotion, but most often shouting just means to get attention.  Most scriptures that discuss shouting are about joy, some make an announcement, and others talk about weeping. In all contexts, they are the desire to get the attention of the Lord.

There is one person in the Bible, despite being so young, whose attention was warranted by the Lord so that a stern message could be conveyed to Eli, the high priest.  The young prophet in training, Samuel.   In I Samuel 3, The Lord had been particularly quiet in those years after the death of Samson and the Israelites chose to live life on their terms.  Eli, the high priest, was not correcting his sons as their behavior in the temple was dishonorable in God’s sight.  So, the Lord withheld his voice from Eli and Israel waned in the vision for its people and the land.   One night, the Lord calls Samuel’s name.  The first and second times, Samuel runs to Eli, not out of fear but to see what Eli needed.   Eli responded, I did not call you, go back to sleep.  Finally, by the third time, Eli realizes that it’s the Lord’s voice.  He tells Samuel to go back to bed and if he hears the call again to respond with, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”  Samuel went back to bed.  The Lord indeed called him again and Samuel responded just as Eli had told him to do.   What a powerful moment to have the Lord’s voice speak to one so young.  It might as well have been a “Hey, you” kind of moment, except without the shouting.  The Lord managed to speak to Samuel who would share the Lord’s strong admonitions with Israel for the rest of his life—this was man whose heart belonged to the Lord and sought to serve God with his entire being all due to the Lord watching over him.

As I reflected about getting attention, I spoke with Mike about my first day of kindergarten.  I was so excited for that day.  My schedule was to start school at noon.  I am sure my mother told me what to do after school let out at 2:45, but let’s just say it went in one ear and out the other. I was awestruck at my newly acquired independence.   As the end of my first day neared, my teacher announced the four exit gates of the school. She asked us to raise our hands if we were being picked up at A Street, B Street, etc.  She grouped us by exit so we would walk out together with our peers towards the exits.  All I know was that I exited with a new young friend and decided to walk home.   Let me describe this scene: My parents chose to send me to a school that was a little further than our home, approximately 1.5 miles away.  I would have to cross a business street where about 1000 or more cars passed daily.  My plan was to walk alongside a 2-lane road through the hills of the University of Texas at El Paso.   As I was preparing to walk to the corner of the busy street and cross over, I felt someone grab me from behind, pull me into the tall brush of weeds that stood in the gulley between the school and the sidewalk, and heard the shout, “Hey, what were you thinking?”  It was my mom.  She had needed me to have her attention about what to do after school, but distraction interfered and I chose to go my way–
She instantly had my attention and my back (literally) .

This was not the sublime “Hey you” moment like Samuel’s calling, but it was the attention of someone who loved me.   The Lord’s attention is on us too and He is always interceding on our behalf.

I shared with one of my brothers about seeing our mom pray for us in the middle of many nights. She’d kneel by our bedside and I could hear her praying.  She would say she was interceding for us because we belonged to the Lord.  Her advice would always be, if you wake up in the middle of the night, start praying.  It’s your shout to the Lord who wants to hear your heart and you’ll have his attention during the quiet night.

Before my mom passed away, her favorite song was Shout to the Lord.  Oh, how she loved this song!  It was her anthem. One of my fondest last memories of her was holding our niece, playing this song, and how she taught her to lift her little hands in worship to the Lord.   It’s one of those memories that penetrates your soul.  Worship was my mom’s attention “getter”— her shout to the Lord.  I think of this as her final piece of advice. It was a reminder that the Lord wants our attention. Sometimes He uses the quiet and sublime circumstances; other times, He uses dire situations for us to finally let out a shout.   It is daily that we should yield our will to the Lord and remember Samuel’s words, “Speak Lord! For your servant hears.”

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