In this day and age, it’s often difficult to find times of silence. For instance, no talking, no television, no music — nothing. The world buzzes around us full-time and if we want to “be still and know that He is God” (Ps.46:10) then we usually have to work at finding a quiet time and place. I tend to encounter my solace out in nature — like the beach, on the water, or in the woods.
However, stillness isn’t our nature in this modern world with so much technology and impulses at our fingertips. Even in much of our worship services we keep a background sound “pad” going in-between songs so people won’t feel “awkward” in the silence. Really? Maybe we need to feel that awkwardness of silence.
In fact, John Main, a teacher of Christian meditation, says: “Silence is necessary if the human spirit is to thrive and to be creative. Silence releases a creative response to life, to our environment and friends because it gives our spirit room to breathe, room to be. In silence we do not have to justify ourselves, apologize or impress anyone. Just be.” (From Word Made Flesh)
When the Lord chose to reveal Himself to Elijah in 1 Kings 19, what transpired was first a violent wind passed by, then an earthquake happened, then a fire came — but the Lord wasn’t in any of these things. Yet after the fire, a gentle whisper, God’s voice spoke. Isn’t it just like that today? We usually have to shut out all the noise and commotion to hear His voice. But this can be hard to do — for many reasons.
One main reason is that when we are silent it will reveal what’s in our heart. That’s why it feels so uncomfortable. We actually start seeing our motives, our inner turmoil, our hurts and disappointments, so it’s not always fun to sit still with ourselves.
But silence also will restore. Taking the time to rest in God’s presence lets Him wash over you, to cleanse and heal. In His presence there is fullness of joy (Ps.16:11), but we just have to stay there long enough.
I imagine when King David was a shepherd out in the middle of nowhere with his sheep, looking up at the multitude of stars, having no TV or cellphone to watch sports or stupid cat videos on, things were quite still. No wonder his psalms are so intimate and personal. He got to know God in that stillness.
It’s interesting that the world has done studies on silence and why it truly is “golden” as they say. But as Christians, think about it — how else are we expecting God to hear from the Lord?
One of my favorite quiet places to hear from the Lord is sitting on my surfboard in the ocean. Usually there are no boats around so all I hear are birds and the waves crashing. For me, it’s easier to sense His presence there than anywhere else. He even sends dolphins to cruise by, just for me, because He loves me.
“To be still, to be silent, is the lesson, and in that stillness and silence we find ourselves in God, in love.” (John Main, The Way of Unknowing)
Silence truly is golden — actually, it’s worth more than gold. Try to find you some this week