The God of Silence

“He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God…’” (Psalm 46:10, NIV).

I have often longed to hear the voice of God, if for no other reason than to confirm what I already know – that he is real, that he is present, and that he cares for me.  Perhaps his voice is deafened by my troubled heart and busy mind.  How I long to hear God’s words of affirmation and encouragement, even challenge and correction if need be – just a word or two.  Yet, I wait, feeling alone and distant from a God who remains silent.

I empathize with God’s chosen people of the Bible.  From the final words of the Old Testament to the arrival of John the Baptist, God refrained from speaking to the nation of Israel.  This four-hundred-year period of God’s silent treatment toward the Jewish people resulted from their neglect of God and his commands.  I, too, sometimes wonder if I have done something deserving of God’s silence.

But then, I’m reminded that the God I serve is the God of Elijah, who also sought to converse with God.  In 1 Kings Chapter 19, we read, “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’  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, NIV).

Our God is the God of the gentle whisper, and while we might expect him to speak by force and with power, God is often heard within the silent moments of life.  God appeared to Elijah, not in the howling wind, nor in the mighty earthquake, not even in the quenching fire, but in the gentle whisper.

Don’t misunderstand – God can speak however he desires, but often uses his still, small voice to communicate with us, his children.  Maybe that’s why the Psalmist teaches us to “‘Be still and know…’” (Psalm 46:10, NIV), because God is understood best when we still our hearts. 

I would challenge you today, just as I challenge myself, to find some quiet, contemplative time to get away with God.  Find some margin in your hectic schedule and simply bask in his goodness.  Pray and meditate on God’s kindness to you.  Perhaps each of us  will hear what God truly wants to say.

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