God of Zion, to you even silence is praise.
Psalm 65:1a, CEB
Sometimes, after a very busy, people-filled time, when I’m driving in the car alone, I will turn off the radio, and let quiet fill the place.
A few years ago, my husband’s uncle took us for a drive up the mountain in his jeep.When we stopped, thousands of feet up and in the middle of no where, he turned off the vehicle. It was so quiet, we could here the sound of the river down below, at the base of the mountain.
Even now, while I’m writing, the house is still (save for the hum of the refrigerator and the click of the ceiling fan).
I like the peace the absence of sound can bring.
There is a holiness in the silence.
The dictionary defines silence as the complete absence of sound, the fact or state of abstaining from speech.
And the thesaurus gives the words quiet, still, hush, tranquil, noiseless, soundless, peaceful, speechless, mute.
I’m glad our Heavenly Father can be praised without a word being spoken. Because sometimes, I run out of words. Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say. Sometimes I want to keep silent.
Our world is filled with noise. Appliances, traffic, televisions, radios, cell phones. A trip to the store provides a cacophony of sound. Depending on the type of work one does, we can be overwhelmed with all kinds of humming, banging, yelling, thumping, screeching, ringing, and beeping. The buzz of human activity constantly fills our ears.
With the noise often comes busyness. Life can be overwhelming. Frantic. Hectic. Crazy. My prayer time, my time with the Lord, can often reflect that. Instead of refreshing me, recharging me, renewing me, I hurry through it with a stream of words, petitions and requests, then rush off, on to the next noisy thing.
Earlier this month I talked about the importance of rest.
I think the same can be true of silence, as well.
We need it.
When was the last time it was quiet enough to put a seashell to your ear and hear the ocean?
When was it quiet enough to hear the rustle of the leaves in a gentle breeze?
Or the purr of a kitten?
When was the last time you turned everything off just to hear the silence?
In the book of 1 Kings, we read “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
It was in the gentle whisper that Elijah heard the Lord.
If the Lord speaks to us in a gentle whisper, will we hear Him with all the noise?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the sound of children’s laughter. Of my husband’s voice. Of the birds outside, the rumble of thunder, or the roar of a waterfall. I always enjoy a breathtaking piece of music. And the conversation of amazing friends.
But lately, I’ve been feasting on the quiet. And when I saw this Psalm, I smiled.
Because it pleases my Father as well.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of hearing. Your world is filled with incredible sounds, giving us great joy. But we have added much clamor and racket. Help me to pause, to find a quiet place, to turn off the gadgets, and give you praise in the silence.