We quickly switch channels if there is any “dead air” that interrupts our listening or viewing experience. We are attached to our media devices as if they were extensions of our ears and eyes. Cellular devices sit by our bedsides, inhabit our driving (hopefully blue-tooth only), and demand our attention when we are with other people in a restaurant or even at the dining room table.
When a moment of silence comes we find ourselves feeling awkward and nervous, even to the point of searching for something to fill the empty time. Even during church services we look up to see if something is wrong or even check out what other people are doing when silent moments take place.
The reason I know this is that I have felt and known the uncomfortable uneasiness of silence.
But what if the “empty space” of silence wasn’t really empty after all?
What if God is waiting there in the silence, ready to speak when we have quieted the noise and stilled our minds?
The Scriptures are ripe with examples of how God speaks to people when they are silent and stilled before Him. Please consider these:
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
“In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)
Elijah sought God in the noise and thunder, but finally experienced Him when he was quiet enough to hear God’s whispering voice. (1 Kings 19)
Jesus Himself took time in the wilderness and in the early morning hours to be alone, in silence and fellowship, with the Father.
In music, the quality of a piece of music is not only dependent on the notes played or sung, but also on the silent moments (rests) written into the song. A lot of music today uses what we musicians call a “breakdown” where instruments pull back or are silent for a section. It’s kind of like a cleansing breath within a song.
Many scripture scholars believe that the word “Selah” that appears in several of the Psalms was intended to indicate a break or rest so that God’s people could soak in, appreciate, and reflect on what they had just heard or sung.
In my experience, silence doesn’t just happen. It must be chosen.
It’s hard work to consciously decide to turn off the devices and media; It’s harder to turn off the mind after the external devices are in “sleep” mode.
Silence before and with God is really an act of worship that requires His help and empowerment, as well personal submission to Him.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I need to continually go back to God and ask Him to help me to re-embrace silence and quietness so that I can be with Him in an even deeper way. With God’s power I can make the deliberate choice to turn things off and be still before Him.
Take it from me, the choice to be quiet before God is definitely worth it.
God may have some profound things to say or reveal about Him, us, or where He is leading us in these moment if we’re willing to be still and worship Him…
…Even in silence.
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