When I first started going to prayer meetings, I wasn’t saved and I was really out of my comfort zone when it came to church and body life and worship – anything that had to do with God. It didn’t take much to freak me out. Now, Martha regularly opens meetings with “Let’s all get quiet and listen and see what we hear.” In the two years before I was actually born again, this group silence happened many times. And I was fairly undone by it every time. It was so completely unnatural to me, and I often came close to having a panic attack. Looking back, I think that the silence really riled my demons.
Once I was saved, that reaction of panic and anger and fear was gone. I began to look forward to those times of silence. It was a gift to lay at the Lord’s feet every errant thought and concern and question and doubt rattling around in my head, and just be QUIET. I loved the peace that came with simply breathing in and exhaling out and waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and move and speak. I still do.
The Hidden Sounds of Silence
The Lord reminded me of this spiritual before-and-after experience with silence, and it has astonished me. Once again He’s asked me to step away from the internet and TV and It’s been a weird couple of days for me. The clamor in my mind is dying down, and silence is filling that space. In this new quiet, I find that I have a growing awareness of what I’m hearing. And what I’m choosing to listen to, and therefore hearing, really matters.
How much of my unbelief is fueled by the noise in my life? If my time spent in quiet with God is dwarfed by my time spent listening to the cacophony of the world, then the result is always going to be fear, I think. Because when I’m not looking at Him or hearing Him, evil seems bigger and more pervasive than the reach of Love. Hope leaches out of me without my even noticing, until one day I wake up and I’m wracked with despair – and I can’t figure out why. I can’t point to the source of despair because it isn’t a single event. It’s hundreds of seemingly insignificant choices and happenings and words and songs and people and places. They all become a deluge that drowns my peace and roars in my ears. Without silence, the noise becomes all I can see and hear.
SILENCE HEALS THE WOUNDS OF NOISE
Silence is healing for the heart and mind. It is rest and restoration for the senses and the spirit. Silence is fertile ground for focus and gazing and quiet contemplation. The enemy hates silence, and it shows. The world has never been louder, and humans have never been sicker. We NEED silence. And we have it less than ever.
It is God’s love that asked me to give up my noise. After only three days, I find that it’s not nearly so difficult to focus or to fall asleep. I have the Lord’s own joy again this morning; His inexplicable, buoyant embrace of this wonderful life! My God is in the silence I so desperately need.
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 AMPC