Why is it so hard?
Why does it seem that we can’t surround ourselves with silence?
Now, I’m not just talking about finding time to sit back and relax. Half the time we’re not silent when we relax anyways. We love noise. It makes us feel comfortable.
And why does it matter anyways? So what if I’m not silent? So what if I’m obsessed with noise? That’s what I used to think anyways. As if it was a crime to be loud.
And then go figure, it ends up that silence is actually a key component to learning God’s voice.
In 1 Kings 19 we see an awesome example of why silence is important to knowing God.
This chapter is the story of Elijah getting the chance to experience God Himself because He is about to “pass by.” This almighty, all powerful, creator-of-the-world, God is about to “pass by.” What a frightening thing to think about.
Were told that a powerful wind sweeps by and totally rips apart the mountain. Try to imagine that. The most intense wind you have ever felt sweeps past you and rents a mountain. Rocks are falling everywhere, crashing to the ground.
Now get this-
That wind wasn’t God.
Perhaps that mountain-tearing-wind just wasn’t enough to prove God’s glory and power. Perhaps, when God enters the scene His presence will be even more powerful than this.
How about an earthquake then? Yes! That would probably do the trick! And that is what happens next- the earth shakes.
And then go figure, God wasn’t in that either. I imagine that Elijah is probably freaking out by now. After all, if God wasn’t in either of those, then it’s hard to imagine what kind of extreme way an all powerful God will show up.
How about a fire then? Yeah, that’s not a bad way to show up. Sure, it’s no earthquake, but what an amazing sight a fire can be. Yes, that would still be a great way for an almighty God to show up. After all, third time’s a charm. And a fire does happen.
But once again, God is not in that natural disaster either. So now what? How much more powerful could it get?
All of the above?
And then came the answer…
Elijah hears a
The almighty, all powerful God has arrived with the most simple of entrances.
Still and small.
This brings out God’s feminine side because we often think of a man pursuing a woman and it stands out to me in this story that God wants to be pursued. He didn’t make His presence obvious, or for that matter even visual!
You can see mountains being torn apart. You can watch the earth shake. You can see a blazing fire from afar. But you can’t see a whisper.
You can feel the mountains being torn apart by the wind sweeping by your face. You can feel an earthquake shake apart all that you know. But you can’t feel anymore than the warm breath of a whisper.
A whisper is audible- and on top of that it’s not very loud. If you want to find God then He wants to first persued.
He doesn’t want to make His presence entirely obvious. He doesn’t want to shake the earth apart in order to get your attention.
Too often we get it backwards. We’re always waiting for God to show up and we’d rather not turn our relationship into something that’s mutual. “Just do stuff for me,” we pray, never expecting to give anything back in return.
Do you want to hear a still, small whisper? Then don’t expect to hear it in the everlasting hum of our society. Find some time to break away from life and pursue the whisper. It takes time to learn what the whisper sounds like, but at least you’ll begin to hear it.
It’s a tad bit risky too. Surrounding yourself in silence in order to pursue God means that there will be questions. You’ll have to face convictions that you often times cover up with the noise of the world, and for the most part that noise does a pretty good job of paralyzing our brains.
Maybe that’s why we’re so busy. Perhaps the more we do the less we have to calm down and listen. Maybe that’s why we’re addicted to noise. It numbs us.
If you’re like me then you may have a hard time even sleeping without background noise! I have slept with a fan nearly every night since I was a child. Then I went through a phase of having to sleep with music on. Now I nearly fall asleep to cartoons every night.
It’s kind of ironic actually. James W. Goll points out in his book “Dream Language” that perhaps God speaks through visions and dreams so often because there’s finally no distractions in our sleep. Perhaps we’ve finally quieted down enough for God to whisper. And yet I can’t even sleep in the quiet half the time!
Silence is hard. I’m no expert on it. I’m trying to work on it myself. But I think it’s about time we break the cycle of our parasitical God relationships to actually learn what God’s whisper sounds like. Think of what we could all do when we actually know His voice.
Think of the change we could make.