Samuel (God Hears) in the night hears the Voice, but the prophet child is given a choice: to volunteer and fulfill God’s vision or go back to sleep and let the elision of dreams bypass this turning point that leads to a future where he will anoint a giant-slaying shepherd king. Could he imagine such a thing is waiting in that whispered Call that wakes him in that holy hall where he lies on a cushion in the dark in front of God’s own holy ark?
Nathanael (God’s Gift) sitting under his tree, when Phillip calls him to come and see the Messiah, the one they’ve all been awaiting, could continue with his contemplating. In fact, we see that he’s debating: could any good thing come from such a place? Would Messiah have a Nazarene face? But when Christ tells Nathanael he’s seen him before, they have to peel him off the floor. He came on a lark, on a whim, on a bet, now he’s told, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Stick around, there’s more to see. You’ll see it all…just follow me.”
Strange that a God so all-pervasive is rarely coercive, more often persuasive; we see that God is omnipresent, but, by and large, it’s not unpleasant. And that’s odd, because ubiquity means God knows my iniquity. God is there when I flare through the roof. God is there when I’m cold and aloof. When I’m being greedy or being stupid or under the influence of Cupid or killing my pain or my appetite—God sees it all, all the wrong and the right. God sees the better moments, too, the nicer things we say and do, the little generosities that we hope outweigh our atrocities.
God, the All-Present, the Ground of All Being, is also, then, the Ever-Seeing. God, not bound by time or dimension, looks past my posture and pretension to see what I cannot see in advance, to call my name and give me a chance to become what only God can see: the person I was made to be.