Even though many are in social isolation at the moment, we are hardly ever in silence. We are always listening to music, radio, some podcast, we leave the TV on while we do something else. Or we exchange several videos and audios on with our friends and family. Nowadays we even work listening to something. Sometimes it seems that we are only silent when we sleep.
But my point here is to say that it is important to spend time in silence, just willing to hear the voice of God. We often forget to turn our ears to our Father who knows all things. As it is written in Job 12:13, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”
In this moment of crises, the noise is really loud!
We are currently experiencing something unprecedented in which the coronavirus crisis is not something exclusive to just one city or a single country. Basically the whole world is going through this together. There are isolated people in almost every country. European city dwellers are experiencing the same problems than city dwellers in North and South America. As a result, everyone is talking about the pandemic. The noise is loud!
We received a flood of information, videos, audios, news. There are specialists in health, government, economics, psychologists. Everyone has something to say. Sometimes we don’t even know what to read or hear or what information to believe.
I leave here the following question: have we spent time in silence just willing to listen to what God has to say to us about all that is happening? I am not saying to stop informing ourselves, but to spend time with Him. The Word says in Luke 5:16 that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.“
The importance of silence
In the silence we can hear the voice of God. One of my pastors always said that we need to lower the volume of the world and increase the volume of God’s voice in our ears.
And lowering the volume of the world is not just about turning off the TV or the radio. It is about feeding our minds with what the Holy Spirit wants. When we feed our spirit, we increase our ability to discern our lives spiritually. That is, we become more sensitive to the voice of God, to be guided by Him and His will.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8: 5-8
By using your time to feed on what is spiritual, you will stop feeding on the noise of society and human thoughts. You will feed yourself with thoughts from above, thoughts of peace and hope because we know that He has already overcome the world and that the joy of the Lord is our strength, even in times of tribulation.
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;Lamentations 3: 25-26
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.“Psalm 62:5
Do we know how to listen?
In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 says that there is a right time for everything. Verse 7 says that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.
How easy it is to talk. It’s easy to spend a lot of time praying over a giant order list. Personal requests, requests from our dear friends and family. And there’s nothing wrong with asking. But do we know at any given time to stop and just listen to what the Lord wants from us? Do we know how long be silent and pay attention to Him? Do we know how to read a portion of the Bible and then quietly reflect on what God wants to teach us and speak from the text?
And hearing the voice of God is not just listening, it is listening and obeying. A spirit-oriented mind enables us to hear God’s voice and also to submit to His will.
Through Isaiah, God warns the people for not paying attention to Him. The people would have prospered if they had heard and obeyed the voice of the Lord.
“This is what the Lord says—Isaiah 48: 17-19
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your well-being like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
nor destroyed from before me.”
In the silence we tear our hearts
In addition to the silence we can hear the voice of God, in the silence we can also tear our hearts. Where only I and the Lord are, I can cry, I can be broken, I can present myself before Him with sincerity and truth.
Jesus was sad and distressed when he went to Gethsemane (Mark 14: 32-36). The time was near when He would face the cross. He turned away from the disciples, prostrated himself and with his face to the ground he prayed to the Father. He asked that, if possible, that moment of pain be removed from him. Jesus in that hard time, when the worst moment of his life was approaching, went to a place where he had a moment of prayer alone with God.
Before the Father, Jesus does not hide his desire not to go through that suffering. Before God we can expose our weaknesses and what we feel. Perhaps that is why we are so resistant to being silent with God. In silence we stay with the One who sees the deepest of our hearts and intentions.
The Psalmist talks about this in chapter 139: 1-4
“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.”
But how wonderful it is that our Father knows us so deeply. Because it is He who can reveal to us behaviors that need to be transformed and guide us on the eternal path. The psalmist ends chapter 139 by saying “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”.
The silence where we meet Him is very precious. Your day has 24 hours. Start by taking at least a few minutes to be silent in His presence. In the silence we hear the voice of God and He transforms us.