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Superintendent's Corner: Mr Jeremy Tinsley

Here I am

As a boy, Samuel lived, learned, and slept at the temple, under the mentorship of the High Priest, Eli. One night Samuel was awoken by a voice calling out to him. This occurred several times during the night, and each time Samuel got out of bed and went to his teacher, Eli, “Here I am; you called me.” Much like a parent who's been woken from a deep sleep by their child, Eli told him to go back to bed.

After the last occurrence, Eli realized that it was God himself who was speaking to Samuel, and he instructed Samuel to reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Samuel returned to bed, again heard the voice calling to him, and responded as instructed. God then laid out a vision for his life and for the work God was about to do through Samuel in Israel. The vision frightened Samuel, but Samuel followed. (1st Samuel 3)

Samuel’s heart was open to hearing God speak; although apprehensive and perhaps worried, he responded humbly and with a desire to do God’s work. As a result, Scripture says that all of Israel recognized that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord.

The prophet Isaiah responds similarly. In Isaiah 6:8 we read how Isaiah exclaims to God, “Here I am. Send me!” Was Isaiah aware of the difficult places God was about to send him? In some ways he would become Israel’s conscience, pleading with his country to repent and return to God - a constant bearer of bad news! What an incredibly tough job!

In the Easter story, at the Garden of Gethsemane, we read how in sorrow and anguish Jesus prayed and asked God, “May this cup be taken from me,” which we interpret as Jesus asking if God might find a way forward that didn’t involve Jesus’ imminent torture and death on a cross. Yet Jesus followed this expression of anguish with the words, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus was willing to walk forward into the most difficult of circumstances out of love for the Father and love for each of us. (Matthew 26:38-40)

Easter reminds us of the gift Jesus offers each of us - life eternal - when we place our trust and faith in him, and importantly, Easter is a call to follow him. Samuel, Isaiah, and Jesus’ examples further illustrate that when our posture is to follow God, even into places of discomfort, others will know that the Lord is God and our work and lives will be blessed by him.

What places of discomfort do you find yourself facing? So often our natural tendency is to avoid, escape, or run away. Will we follow him, even into those difficult and unknown places?

The act of following God is an act of faithfulness and worship. Whether in our work, our parenting, our recreational activities, or our relationships, may we have the courage to faithfully follow wherever he leads.