What’s your relationship with silence?
- I enjoy it
- I want more of it in my life
- I like a little background noise
- I am uncomfortable with it
Silence can be both a blessing and a curse.
When you live with constant noise all the time, you crave silence. You want peace and quiet and you don’t want to be distracted by anything. Getting away from everything helps out a lot. You need to find a place where you can relax and just bask in the sounds of nothingness. Going away on a retreat can really help with this. By turning off your cell phones and not checking in with the rest of the world can be the most refreshing thing you can ever do. I’ve been in the mountains of West Virginia where it is absolutely silent. When the night arrives and the stars come out and are RIGHT THERE, with all the quiet surrounding me I feel really close to God. I welcome the silence then.
But then there are times when silence feels like a curse. These times basically come during times of waiting. (I am sensing a repeating theme here). When you are waiting to hear if you got the job or not. When you’re waiting to see if people will respond to an RSVP. When you’ve contacted someone and you’re waiting for them to reply with a text or call. When you’ve never gone more than a few days without talking to someone who’s been extremely close to you, and then suddenly they disappear completely out of your life and you have no idea why or what happened. That’s when silence become your enemy. The silence can be suffocating. It feels like you can’t push it away not matter how hard you try. You feel trapped in it and the quiet and stillness that you once welcomed for its comfort now has got a death grip on you. It’s filled with so many unanswered questions as you sit there and wait and don’t hear anything. The quiet that was once peaceful is now so loud with the sound of uncertainty, fear, and doubt.
And then there’s silence from God:
- “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)
- “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2)
- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
- To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28:1-2)
Even King David felt that there were times when God seemed so far away. When you feel like your prayers are just going to the ceiling and you’re not getting any feedback. How many times have you cried out to God only to not hear back anything? And it’s frustrating when you want an answer…any answer. Yes or no. Just a sign to know that he’s there and you’re not just saying words to the air. “Lord, just throw me a bone here! Give me something to work with!”
And yet it’s in that very painful and raw silence that God works the most in you. I don’t know about you but even though I’m not getting an answer immediately, I’m still continuing to keep turning to God. Unlike human beings, God has not left me and he hasn’t forsaken me. God is never too busy for me when I need to talk to him. He’s not going to leave me hanging and wondering if I’ve done something to offend him or if he just wanted to end our relationship.
Even though I don’t understand at all why things are going in my life the way they are, I know that I can trust in the fact that God DOES know and he is in charge of everything. And because of this truth and faith, I know that there is a reason why he isn’t answering me at this moment. It’s frustrating, yes. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I don’t like waiting and I want an answer.
But it doesn’t mean that God will always stay silent. There have been and will be times when God’s answer is so loud and clear that you cannot ignore it no matter how hard you try. And because I know God will always answer, I’ll take his silence for now, until I’m ready for his answer.
- Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1)
- Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3)
Jon Acuff wrote this wonderful (and actually serious) post a while back about The Beautiful Reason God Might Not Be Talking to You Right Now. I love this post so much because it describes my walk with God to a T. Also another excellent article from Relevant, What to Remember When God is Silent.
(PS If you understand the picture in this post, you are awesome and we are friends)