The Strength of Silence
Our culture is full of noise. We constantly have places to go, things to do. Our lives are made up of errands, meetings, and schedules. We divide our days into segments and relegate specific activities to each part. Work, food, entertainment, sleep—everything fits into a schedule that is full, overflowing.
Structure is good—God Himself is a God of order, not chaos. So there’s nothing wrong with a schedule and a plan for each day. In fact, we need structure in our lives if we’re going to accomplish anything. But I’m realizing that, in the midst of a full, busy life, I’ve forgotten something: I’ve forgotten how to simply be silent.
When I was a teenager, I would grab my Bible and take it outside. I had a special rock that I would sit on in our side yard. Surrounded by the lush green tropical rainforest, I would listen to hymns, pray, cry, read the Bible, write down verses, really think about them. Sitting on that rock, taking in the truths of God’s Word, running them through my mind, responding in confession and praise—those times of meditation would strengthen my faith, fill me with joy, and drive me to keep faithfully pursuing God.
Meditation is just quietly considering God—Who He is, what He’s done, what His Word says about Himself and about me. And that takes time. Meditation takes a lot of time, a lot of silence, and a lot of intentional focus on God.
But when I’m in the middle of a busy season of life, I find myself pushing my time with God into smaller and smaller chunks of my day. Other priorities take the place of that time, and before I completely realize what happened I’ve sacrificed the sweet depth of my relationship with God for the temporal busyness of my schedule.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been reminded in different ways of the importance of prioritizing times of silence when I can think, read the Bible, and pour out my heart to God.
Psalm 62:5-8 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Times of silence are so important because it’s in those moments that I remember who God is and what He has done for me. He is my rock, my salvation, my fortress, my glory, and my refuge. When my schedule clamors for my attention, when temptations to sin seem to abound, when fears about the future and worries about the present crowd my mind, in those times God reminds me to stop and simply be silent. Rather than fighting my own daily battles alone against pride, anger, fear, and frustration, as a beloved child of God I have the wonderful privilege of hiding myself in Him.
When I stop fighting to understand everything, to do everything, and to be everything that I think I need to understand, be, and do, then I can quietly, restfully, and silently rely on God’s strength. When I stop trying to fight for myself, I can find rest by entering into the refuge that is God Himself. Being still and silent is often even harder than being busy doing things, but I have found that God reveals Himself to the soul that simply waits for Him in silence.
I love Moses’ words to the people of Israel as they were about to cross the Red Sea:
Exodus 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
The same God who fought for the children of Israel thousands of years ago still fights for His children today. He still makes a way for us in the midst of overwhelming and overpowering circumstances, teaching us more about His faithfulness and love. And we have only to be silent before Him. We have only to be silent and behold the salvation that our great God has enacted for us.