2003-08-13 - Can you Hear the Silence?
Originally Published 1999-10-06
Psa 46:10 (NIV) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
We live in a noisy world. We wake up by a clock radio, which blares out the sound of people talking about nothing. We jump in the shower after we turn on the CD player in the bathroom. Off to the kitchen to turn on the TV, to catch the weather forecast, while reading the newspaper and eating a quick breakfast at the same time. We dash to the car, where the CD playler automatically comes on as we crank up the engine. The car phone rings immediately, with a voice mail message begging to be answered as we drive to work. At work, the background music is playing, the phones are ringing, the computers are whirring, and the water cooler chat is becoming louder by the moment, as more people arrive at the office. Can we hear the silence? No way. Do we want to hear the silence? I don't think so. I think we are scared of what we might hear. Like a child scared of the dark, we are equally scared of the silence.
What are we scared of? We are scared of hearing that soft, gentle voice whispering to us. We are scared of the voice that wants to guide us and direct us, the voice of the One who loves us very much. Are we scared to hear the voice gently telling us to slow down, take time with Him, clear our thoughts, relax, rest, and find peace in Him? Are we scared like the people who do not want to fully trust their lives to the gentle voice of God, because they fear God will ask them to do something they either do not want to do, or feel inadequate to do?
I had a very interesting experience once, that brought the whole silence issue to light. I took the day off from work to load a tractor-trailer with flood relief supplies for Eastern NC, and most of the time I was alone in this 48-foot long trailer. No TV, no radio, no CD player, no phone, no people, no noise -- just boxes, silence and me. Oh sure, my mind was full of "noise" at first. I was feeling guilty for taking the day off when I had some pretty important tasks to finish. Noise filled my head as my mind raced through work and worry about filling this truck up with enough supplies to make a difference to a small group of people who were depending on us.
But slowly and quite supernaturally, my mind began to clear, the noise level went down, the level of silence increased. I slowly quit worrying and started praying, while sorting items and packing boxes, just talking to God. Then after a while, I became very quiet, my mind was clear and finally I was still. Now God could work. Now He could be heard; now I could really listen. Once the audible noises of the world and the inaudible noises of my mind stopped, I was filled with that soft, gentle voice of the Lord.
Now don't go call the guys in white suits with straightjackets; it was not an audible voice, just God speaking in my thoughts. Reassuring me that HE knows what people's needs are, He was moving people to give exactly what was needed and that He was in control, not me. Do you see what happened? I was finally still and quiet enough to listen.
Now I am trying to take "silent" breaks during the day. Time for my racing mind to slow down, time to shut out the world and let God in. I challenge you to try this. If you are like me, it is very difficult. Try today for just five minutes to really be still, still your mind, silence your world around you, slow down and listen to the One who loves you and wants what is best for you in every situation.
Father- forgive us for blocking You out and not listening to the silence. Help us to overcome our fear of silence. Help us to trust You in all that we do. Give us the strength, courage and wisdom to be still. In Christ's name, Amen.