Tuesday, October 31, 2006 

God. Silence.

I am amazed at how fast life moves. That amazement comes, of course, only when I find the time to actually be amazed. More often than not, I am too busy to be amazed. Life moves and I get caught up in the mix of it – deadlines have to be met, meetings have to be attended, calls have to be made, and then I still have to try hard to be the best husband I can be, the best pastor I can be, and the best student that I can be.
Rob Bell begins the Noise video by telling us this story:

I was reading about this guy named Bernie Krause, who records nature sounds for film and television. He was saying that, in 1968, in order to get one hour of natural sound, like no airplanes no cars, that it would take him about 15 hours of recording time, and he was saying that today, to get that same one hour of undisturbed sound, it takes him 2000 hours of recording time.

I have been trained to look for faults in statements, so my mind went immediately to things like, “he’s just picking the wrong places to record.” But as I thought about it, I realized that the sheer number of cars and planes are exponentially greater today than in 1968. There is more noise than ever. Power lines seem silent, but even they produce a constant humming sound. Silence is lost.

What kind of noise do you have in your life? Many times, I cannot answer that question because there are too many noises to differentiate between them all. Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Maybe our prayer should be, in this hectic and crazy world, “God here am I, a servant of yours; tired, weary and burdened. I want rest in you.” But that prayer only gets us half way there. Let us remember that much of this world will fade away, and the things eternal – like our relationships with each other and with God – must be tended to. If it is true that we reap what we sow, then how can we honestly say that our relationship with God is any better if we don’t put the time into it to make it better?

Our model is Christ. Luke 5:16 says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Solitude. Silence. Prayer. These are the examples of Jesus.
Perhaps one of the greatest books of the 20th century that deals with spiritual practices is by Richard Foster and entitled Celebration of Discipline. He writes:

One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust.

So may we take the times that we are given to just do what we want to do and just be silent. In the words of the Psalmist, may we search our hearts and be silent (Psalm 4:4).

Grace and Peace,Paul G.