Psa. 109:1 Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
Last week, my daughter submitted her homework with the honest answer of a sister to triplet boys. I realized as much as my daughter cherishes silence, I go stir crazy. My own mother–who edits this blog, so I will know if this line is removed–would tell me that she could set me in an empty room and I would talk the walls down.
Spiritually, this challenges me to consider what happens when God goes silent in my life?
So much of the book of Psalms contains prayers and pleas for God NOT to be silent, like the one above. Yet, implied in that plea is that God would frequently go silent to His people. Therefore, how do we react to the silence of God?
Once I visited a monastery for a 48 hour silent retreat. It was miserable. I would go down into the small chapel and stare at an icon of Jesus, and keep praying that God would speak to me, since no one else would.
- I stared at this face of Jesus: nothing
- Looked at my watch: 47:15:52 to go
- Prayed: Nothing
- Looked at my watch: 47:15:42 to go
- Squinted at the face of Jesus: Headache
- Looked at my watch: Did time just go backwards?
I was trying to manufacture some spiritualized and mystic experience, rather than embracing the silence of God.
In college, I remember driving home with my closest friend from High School. As we drove down the highway, our conversation ceased and silence ensued. However, unlike any other moment of silence in my life, this silence was comforting. It affirmed the depth of our friendship; I did not have to pretend to fill the void with banter and awkward small talk. My mind wasn’t racing over topics of conversation; some point of contact to blabber about, but absorbed the silence as a sign of a true friendship.
What if I embraced the same stages of silence of God as a sign of a mature friendship.
Instead of worrying why my prayers, and quiet times, and bible readings, and 91.9 listening are not conversation starters, I could embrace the silence of a mature friendship with God, knowing that He will speak when He is ready.
For there may be times in my life when He goes silence, and in doing so it better prepares me to hear Him when is ready to speak again.
There are 500 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Yet that silence was in order to prepare us for His Good News that today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born for us. And if God goes silent while His Son is dying on the cross–perhaps there is something “good” that will grow out of this tortuous silence.
So if God has gone silent in your life, don’t fret He hasn’t abandoned us. Instead embrace that silence as a season to mature your friendship so that we are prepared to hear Him again.