“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation.” -CS Lewis
I like to spend time in quiet. Whether surrounded by nature or in a quiet room, God speaks to me in the silence. David said in Psalm 62 that he waited in silence for God. Jesus in Luke 5:16 sought the Father in the silence of the wilderness as did others in the Bible. Often we may run from silence.Joshua Birk wrote on breakpoint.org, “Noiselessness is so unsettling because…we are afraid of the answers that might pounce on us.” He goes on to say that venturing into silence “is both counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. Yet it makes perfect sense to a God who loves to speak in whispers to make sure we are listening.”
It seems our information-riddled culture has truly forgotten what it is like to be silent. Too often I notice that I must have some sort of electronic device—be it big or small—turned on. It is so easy today to take our personal noisemakers with us wherever we go. I have even seen people wearing earbuds on trails in national parks. That just doesn’t seem right?
My wife and children know more than anyone else that I often like to hike being as quiet as possible. Sometimes I travel slowly and softly, looking and listening at the silence around me. I enjoy the subtleties of nature. Still, I always hope to find something that’s a little more than subtle, like an elk or moose. But all too often they hide quite well in the stillness of the forest. All I am left with is silence. What a treasure to be left with!
It feels good to hear nothing but squirrels walking, elk feeding, or a bird landing on a branch 40 feet away. Silence is truly golden. The soft sounds that seep slightly above silence are soothing to my ears. More importantly, as I walk along the forest floor, I often praise God in my spirit. I might rest on a rock beside a lake or on the slope of a mountain to pray, journal, and read my Bible. In the silence of those places God speaks.
Sometime it is not always possible to walk in the wilderness, but a walk in a park can also give the quietness our hearts need. There is also a peace to be found in leaving the radio off in the car or at work. Or try this one: leave the smartphone at home and let God speak.