There’s an old gospel song written by Albert E. Brumley called “Turn Your Radio On” in 1939, and it’s been sung by just about every gospel singer and group since, plus many country artists. There were several variations on the lyrics, here is a popular one:

Come and listen in to a radio station
Where the mighty hosts of heaven sing
Turn your radio on, turn your radio on
If you want to feel those good vibrations
Coming from the joy that His love can bring
Turn you radio on, turn your radio on.

Turn your radio on
And listen to the music in the air
Turn your radio on and His glory share
Turn your lights down low
And listen to the Master’s radio
Get in touch with God, and turn your radio on.

Everybody has a radio receiver
All you got to do is listen for the call
Turn your radio on, turn your radio on
If you listen in you will be a believer
Leanin’ on the truths that’ll never fall
Get in touch with God, turn the radio on.

When and where was the last time you listened to a radio? In the car, probably, many of us (most of us?) rarely listen to the radio at home. TV was, and still is to a point, the go-to source for news and entertainment.

But now we have cell phones.

In Japan, the common way to access the Internet is with a cell phone, and it’s becoming the same way in America, indeed, just about everywhere. Even though technology has allowed for tablets and laptops to have phone technology built-in, the cell phone is most often used for data retrieval and all things Internet– surfing, messaging, maps, weather reports, ad infinitum. You can even listen to the radio on your cell phone!! (Seems redundant!)

Our cell phones (these days, all you need to say is “phone” and it’s generally understood you mean “cell phone”) come equipped with sounds, and we know them first as “ringtones” but there are also “message” or “text” tones, and they are all specific sounds that we assign to people on our contact list (and, yes, not on our contact list) depending on what they are attempting to do, i.e. call us or text us or facetime us, whatever.

There is nothing – nothing – that draws our immediate attention more than those tones, or the one specific tone to which or to whom we have assigned as being most important to us.

It’s not always a good thing! People have had mishaps while driving, working, (walking!!) because of being distracted by their phone. Many areas have public service messages imploring people to not “text and drive” and some cities have enacted ordinances banning the use of cell phones while driving in school zones, and others have banned any use while driving, hands-free devices notwithstanding. Have you ever had to beep your horn at someone ahead of you at a stop light because the light has turned green and they didn’t notice because they have their head down looking at their phone? Maybe you’ve been the one in front? It’s called “distracted driving.” (And that’s my public service announcement for the week)

The point is we have trained ourselves (allowed ourselves to be trained) to respond to a specific thing, in this case being a sound, sometimes just a vibration, that draws our immediate and focused attention. It can be noisy, hectic, chaotic, or peaceful and calm around us, yet we STILL hear it.

I was sent a picture of a sign that said “The next time you wake up in the middle of the night, wide awake for no apparent reason, it might be the Holy Spirit saying ‘Hey, spend some time with Me, and the Son, and the Father.’”

Immediate and focused attention requested.

Samuel was a young man serving with the prophet Eli. Samuel had not yet met the Lord personally. They had retired for the night, and Eli, being old and barely able to see, was lying in his usual spot, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple near where the Ark of the Lord was kept. (1 Samuel chapter 3)

The Lord woke Samuel up.

Samuel heard his name called, and he ran in to Eli and said “Here I am, you called me.”

Eli said that he had not called, and sent young Samuel back to bed.

Again, God called Samuel. Again, Samuel hurried to Eli; again Eli sent him back to bed.

A third time the Lord called Samuel, and Samuel went to Eli and said “Here I am; you called me.”

Eli realized God was calling the boy; he said ““Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Immediate and focused attention.

Don’t miss a chance to enter prayerfully and thoughtfully into the Presence of God, whenever and wherever that chance occurs, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a hectic day at work, in the calm silence of being alone; be assured when God calls, He will give you enough time in which to reply,

“Speak, for your servant is listening.”