I am just a little prone to over analysing things…….and finding that quirky detail in a situation or story that sets me off on a path of no return…..!
I’ve been reading the book of 1st Samuel and I’m intrigued by the title, for it seems that Samuel may not have written the whole book, though many sources believe his writings, along with those of other historians were used in the manuscript.
Samuel’s personal story is within the book, however he lives in the shadow of a dominating plot – a rather ‘Shakespearean’ tale of war, kings, jealousies, love, betrayal and loss involving the Israelite peoples and the first and second Kings of Israel.
Samuel would have been well known in Israel, as a judge and as a spiritual leader, yet his was a quiet voice in Israel at that time: a constant and faithful source of advice, intercession , wisdom and truth in a society which was increasingly secular. Many sought him out, from kings to ordinary folk, and in times of national crisis, Samuel was there, bringing the ‘God perspective’ into each tragedy or challenge.
Samuel also manages to live within the shadow of his own calling. He clearly is an individual who feels deeply for his people and mourns for Saul when God rejects him; mourns about his sons’ behaviours and mourns for a people who reject God’s best way and demand a king. Here is a gentleman, whose fears, desires, traumas and personal tragedies are processed ‘off set’. On ‘stage’ Samuel is a remarkable man who listens to God, talks with God, walks with God and is the voice of God in his generation. Impressive?
There is an older lady in the church I attend who is a known ‘prayer warrior’. By this I mean that when she commits to pray for you she really does pray, and she continues to pray for you long after you have forgotten you asked. June is an astute woman, of small stature, unassuming dress and unremarkable history yet she stands tall in her ability to assimilate the ‘God perspective’ from the (at times) conflicting narratives played out in the lives of individuals and community within a modern church.
I especially admire June’s grandmotherly knack of normalising teenage dramas and the adjustments needed to life as a new parent, wrapping individuals in a comforting blanket of encouragement in the ‘normal’ ups and downs of life. I also love listening to her pray in the most difficult of human situations: honest, direct, intelligent, scripture infused and therapeutic to the listener.
And, I’m always astounded that when asked, June has few prayer requests of her own. I don’t doubt that these have already been shared with God, leaving her free to be an intercessor for others – a truly remarkable gift!