My four-year-old boy amazes me by asking some of the most insightful questions. A couple of months ago he asked me, “How can we hear God?” His question surprised and thrilled me all at the same time. After all, communicating with God isn’t something you’d expect to interest a small child, and yet here this is my little boy asking about it!
I wasn’t exactly sure how to reply. I know that God can speak to people. But I know it’s not necessarily an audible voice, like when I ask my husband what he’d like for dinner and he says “steak.” At least, He’s not spoken to me like that. Mostly He speaks to me similar to what Elijah experienced. How do you explain to a four-year-old that “still small voice” that Elijah heard after the fire and the earthquake and the wind (I Kings 19:12)? The whole question is difficult to discuss with an adult, who better understands the big words and complex theological concepts.
As I was praying about how to answer him, I remembered back to the story of Samuel recounted in I Samuel 3. As a child, Samuel lived in the Temple with his foster father, Eli. One night he woke up to hear someone calling, “Samuel!” Certain that it was Eli calling for him, Samuel obediently reported for duty. Except that Eli hadn’t called him! After this happened a few times, Eli finally understood that it was the LORD who was calling Samuel, and he gave the boy instructions for talking to God. And the next time Samuel woke, he replied, “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.” And the LORD spoke to Samuel!
I’ve always loved this story! I’d love to hear God’s voice audibly as Samuel did! (Of course, Samuel was given bad news to give to Eli, and I’m not sure I’d like to have to deliver that kind of message. 😀 )
What does God have in store for my little boy?
I prayed for him then, when he first asked me this (and since then too) that God would speak to him, that my boy would hear God’s voice. But really, I’m not sure how to teach my child how to hear from God.
But . . . I firmly believe that it is God who puts this curiousity into a person’s heart (be it a child or an adult.) And I know that God wants to speak to my boy, and I am so thankful for this! I am excited to have to chance to help my boy learn to discern the LORD’s voice, even as I continue to learn to discern His voice for myself. We are on a journey together. I am so excited to see hear what happens!