Silence. How often do we find true silence? How many times a day do we find ourselves sitting in a space so quiet that we can’t even hear the humming of an air conditioner, or the buzz of the electricity in a lamp? For me, that answer is never.
Silence has become an indulgence. Something that we reward ourselves with after we’ve completed all our work, seen everyone we need to see, and finished all the chores around the house. And maybe we don’t even experience silence after that; maybe our reward has become watching television while scrolling through social media.
When I study, I listen to music. If I’m with people, someone is usually talking. When I’m doing chores or getting ready, I pick my favorite playlist on spotify or turn on the TV to provide some background noise. Silence has become bothersome. Silence has become a bad thing.
Last week I visited a small chapel that sits on the back of my college campus, and for the first time in a very long time, I experienced silence. For over an hour, I sat without distractions and was silent; no phone, no homework, no emails buzzing in my pocket. It was in those moments that I realized how loud life truly was…how loud I allowed life to be.
We need silence. We need to sit without distractions and be still. The Bible gives us several verses about this:
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14).
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalm 62:5).
“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” (Job 6:24).
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” (Isaiah 30:15).
Yet today we are fed constant noise. Maybe we like the noise because it distracts us from having to listen. God uses the silence to speak, and perhaps the truth for many is that they don’t want to hear what the Lord is trying to tell them, so they fill their lives with noise instead. This reminds me of another story in the bible:
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:1-3).
(If you don’t know that story, Jonah eventually gets swallowed by a fish and then comes to his senses, following God’s directions and doing as God asked. There’s a whole veggietales episode about it.)
Basically the point I’m trying to make is this; silence is a good thing. Silence is peace. Silence is sanity. Silence is listening and obedience. And in this loud and pushy world we live in, silence is necessary.
However, silence is still hard to find. But I encourage you to search for it. Find ten minutes in your day that you can dedicate to silent listening without distractions. Maybe it’s waking up ten minutes earlier, maybe it’s staying up ten minutes later, or maybe it’s substituting ten minutes of your social media time. However you can find it, I encourage you to use it.