Here I am Lord, send me

My sheep hear my voice

Now after these things God tested the faith and commitment of Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” and he answered, “Here I am.” Genesis 22:1

In that dream the Angel of God said to me “Jacob!” and I said, “Here I am.” Genesis 31:11

The Lord called Samuel and he answered “Here I am.” 1 Samuel 3:4

How do we hear the voice of God? In diverse ways I think. At times I do so wish that I could hear his voice audibly as did the Old Testament prophets. More often than not however what I hear is simply the “still, small voice within,” nudging me along his path. I was reminded of this last Sunday when our virtual church service began with the hymn “Here I am Lord.”

About twenty years ago, I was questioning whether to apply for a teaching job which I’d seen advertised. The wording of the advertisement began “Are you able to” followed by a list of criteria which the successful applicant should meet. I was able to answer “Yes” to all requirements, and yet there were a number of reasons why this job was not for me, or so I thought. Yet God knew better.

The deadline for applications was drawing near and I had made no attempt to apply. However a voice was nagging me, “do it, do it.”

“No!” I said, emphatically, “It’s not for me.” I was a secondary school teacher and this job was in a junior school. My two youngest children were pupils there and I had vowed never to teach at the same school that my children attended. Most importantly, I was very aware that the head teacher was at best very demanding, at worst very temperamental person. I would be a fool to apply.

In Church that Sunday we sang “Is it I, Lord?” As I joined in with the familiar words I suddenly had a change of heart. I knew that God was calling me to that school.

“Okay God,” I prayed, “If you really want me there, I’ll go, just for two years.” For that was the length of time my children, twins, would remain at the school. I could say that I had gone while they were there for convenience; their leaving would give me a reason to leave also.

“Alright,” replied God.

It happened to be the beginning of half term. The following day were were off to the sea-side for five days. Before I went to bed I revised my CV, wrote a brief covering letter, and put the two in an envelope ready to be posted the following morning. This was in the days before electronic applications you understand.

I returned from our sea-side break to find a letter inviting me for interview lying on the hall mat. A few days later I duly turned up for interview. I left feeling that it was the worst interview I had given. I had been home for an hour when the head phoned and offered me the job. I accepted with good grace. God had won.

Reader, I grew to love that school, its children, staff and the head teacher. My children left, I stayed. They progressed through secondary school and onto university. I remained at the school until I retired fifteen years later and was greatly blessed. God has the last laugh. I trust that in my time there I carried out the ministry he had called me to.

I have heard God’s calling since. Sometimes a shout, sometimes a whisper. I pray that I will continue to do so, and continue to respond,”Here I am Lord.”

Here I am Lord

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide
‘Til their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I will hold Your people in my heart

“Sent by the Lord am I, my hands are ready now to make the earth the place in which the Kingdom comes.”

May we all hear the Lord’s voice when he speaks to us and respond, “Here I am ,send me.”

Published by helenlathbury

Erstwhile teacher, amateur writer, musician and gardener. I write about local history, short stories and articles. My novella, Clara, is the first of four related stories about women whose livesbecome intertwined over the course of a four generations.

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