Silence & Solitude 101 • The God of The Gentle Quite Whisper
Then he was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by." A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire…
I’ve been thinking… why is it so hard to embrace the spiritual assignments of silence and solitude? Silence and solitude seem like such easy assignments. All you have to do is be quite and then push the easy button—“that was easy”. But as you probably know from experience practicing the disciplines of silence and solitude is not very easy at all—at least not for me. I think it because I grew up in the era of the BIG spectacular God—the God of the earthquake, the storm, the fire--the loud booming voice God. You know the God who makes his power known by mighty acts and deeds. The God who needs to make sure you know who you are and WHO HE IS! I don’t know where I was when the God of the gentle quite whisper was introduced but I missed it. I must have skipped Sunday school that day. Somehow the God of the loud outshines the God of the quite in my journey.
Even as I type this blog entry in my bedroom with the door closed I can hear the sound of noise all around me. I hear the shower going in my children’s bathroom…the voice of my son Jae…the clothes dryer’s beeping at the end of a cycle and my wife getting ready for the day. In the quite I can even hear the sound of my finger hitting the keys. I just can’t seem to escape the noise.
Now, sometimes I can be the prime noisemaker because I’m a talker. Not only am I a talker but, I come from a long line of talkers and I live among a family of talkers. And since most talkers love to hear their own voice things can get a little loud at times. You should hear dinner conversations at the Heyward’s—with everyone trying to talk at the same time. And if the “symphonic talking” gift isn’t bad enough I have inherited and passed down to my kids Jasmine and Jae the “second blessing” gift of loud talking too. So we aren’t just talkers we are LOUD-talkers. I am sure that my wife’s continued move toward introversion is due in large part to her family of loud talkers. So how does a loud talker in a family of loud talkers practice the spiritual assignment of silence and solitude? Is it even possible to wade through the external and internal noise of life and find a place of silence and solitude? Are there any examples to emulate?
If anyone had to wade through the noise and crowds in order to make time for silence and solitude it was Jesus. He constantly had to deal with the “noise” of crowds grabbing for his attention. But Jesus still knew it was important to get away, power down and spend quality time with the God of the gentle quite whisper. Jesus shows us by example how to get away with God.
“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.” Luke 4:16 (MSG)
So how do we follow in the footsteps of Jesus—how do we learn the lessons of Jesus’ journey? Here are 3 easy steps to begin embracing the spiritual assignments of silence and solitude.
1. BE ALONE: Dig out some time to be alone—steal some moments of silence solitude here and there. Maybe its after everyone else is in bed or before they get up. But try to find and protect some alone time.
2. BE QUITE: Get rid of visual and auditory distractions turn off the radio, tv and computer. And just settle down with God. You don’t have to say anything sometime things are best not said wait on the Lord. Listen for him he’ll speak up
3. BE STILL: The hardest thing to do sometime is to just be still. The Bible says that God’s word to us sometimes is just… “be still and know that I am God.”
….and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice… I Kings 19: 11-13 (MSG)
It’s amazing what you can hear from God when you practice silence and solitude by being alone, quite and still. –jfhey2