The call of Samuel speaks to a longing perhaps most people have, a longing for God to speak to me, to call me clearly and explicitly. What a wondrous thing to imagine, that the Lord would call my name and make known His plan for me.
What is amusing about this story is that Samuel receives this great privilege, and then completely misunderstands it! Three times he goes to Eli, thinking he was the source of the call before even Eli understands that it is in fact God. Perhaps we might make the same mistake even if God called us by name!
It would be easy to relegate these kinds of encounters to Biblical times, concluding that the days of God calling people are past. While it is true that God's final revelation of Himself is in Christ and His church, the Lord continues to call us – his people, after all – and guide us according to His will. The question is whether or not we are listening.
Notice that God calls Samuel not during the day or in the midst of worship in the Temple. He chooses the one time when Samuel is apart from any activity, when he is most receptive – when he's asleep! From that point forward Samuel grew closer and closer to God, but this was the starting point.
We can choose to make time for the Lord, to make an opening to hear the voice and guidance of the Lord. How often do we do just that?
We may not have the opportunity to spend extended periods before the Lord in the church or chapel, but there is always room in our day for even a few minutes of quiet. Who knows how God might use that time? The joy of hearing God's call, whether audible to our ears or prompting in our heart, is meant for all who are willing to listen for Him.