Isaiah 30.21

Quiet. Not many of us get enough of it, and when we do, we don’t know what to do with it. Ecclesiastes 3, however, tells us that there is a time for all things: mourning and dancing, building and breaking, seeking and losing. The totality of human existence and the emotions which seek to overcome us at times have their place, God reminds us. But how are we to understand and process these without moments which seek their independence from the busyness of life? Psalm 46:10 is beloved for a reason: “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

The discipline of solitude & silence begins with creating space for God to speak to our restless hearts. We come with open hands and hearts in anticipation of what God might say. If we are lucky, Isaiah 30:21 might become a reality: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” 

As the flurry of life fades to the background, we begin to hear something which sounds almost foreign. Can that be God’s voice, we wonder? In solitude & silence we begin to hear God’s voice again. The world and all its cares are pushed to the background as, for just a fleeting moment, we are able to rediscover what it means that God has never left our side.

In solitude & silence we find God’s nearness and bigness simultaneously. When all is quiet, we hear the drip of the faucet, the whisper of a leaf in the wind, the steady breathing of a dog in midday nap. The world comes alive in silence, and we rediscover what it means that God sustains the universe and holds everything in His right hand. We see the beauty of a sunset and feel the softness of a pillow. God is over all. 

And in our sighs, we also remember that God is in all. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). And in us He has deposited His greatest gift. Second Corinthians 1:21-22 reads, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” His love is so vast that He cannot help but be in our hearts as well. He is indeed in all and over all.  

Finally, silence & solitude lead us to such worship and awe that His Holy Spirit deposited in us births a new life of gospel witness. We become aware that as we find God in quiet, many do not. We acknowledge that too many turn to other things instead of God. But what if it’s true that God does desire all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of Him? It is true, God says as we sit in silence. Our silence to others on matters of faith become deafening the longer we spend time with God. Silence moves us, ultimately, towards more conversation about Jesus, about life, about hope.

Questions for Reflection: 

  • Do you find silence and stillness unnerving, or comforting? Why?
  • Have you incorporated quiet times of listening to God into your worship of Him?
  • In what ways can you use silence and solitude to edify your own faith walk, as well as draw you nearer to the heart of God?
  • How does silence interact with evangelism?

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