Fighting for Silence
On a recent trip to the beach, I was alone for two and a half hours. Letting my Waze app chart my course to avoid traffic, I enjoyed some rural scenery and small towns I’d never seen before. I fought the urge to turn on the radio or listen to a book on Audible and chose silence instead. I’m so glad I did.
In a devotional I recently completed, I was challenged to have a couple of minutes of silence before and after my times with God. It was extremely hard at first. I kept wanting to reach for my phone to check a text, mark a to-do or research an idea which popped into my head. Over time, I realized that God’s still small voice will fill the silence, but I have to wait on Him.
The Presence of God
As I drove through the low country of South Carolina, passing through Lynchburg and Lake City, people started coming to mind. Being concerned for their well-being, I began to present them one by one before the Lord. This connection with God’s heart gave me a sense of his nearness.
Speaking about the nearness of God, David wrote of gazing upon his beauty in the temple. Asaph wrote that the nearness of God was his good and that apart from God he had nothing. Exodus compares the presence of God to bread. In the New Testament, we read of Rushing wind and Rivers of Living water when describing the Holy Spirit, God’s presence with us.
What I was experiencing, started with love. All the lies which often block the knowledge of God’s love for me were held aside so that I knew it in deeper measures. He loved me before I was born with a timeless love which I can not change.
There was also extreme peace, a peace rooted in the Prince of Peace and not in any present circumstance. I understood what Jesus meant when he told us he himself is our peace and that we can’t expect it from the world.
There was hope, a firm hope anchored in Christ; a realization that regardless of what the future holds on this side of the grave, I know how my story ends. An eternity of experiencing even a greater measure of God’s presence awaits me.
And joy. There was no progression in the love, peace and hope I was experiencing. An awareness of God’s nearness came upon me quickly, as the sun emerges from a cloud. However, it seemed to me that joy was the culmination of the other three. Could I experience this kind of internal glee if I didn’t have love, peace and hope? My heart said no.
More than Feelings
As I drove past a white country church against the graying sky , it occurred to me that what I was experiencing was more than feelings. Sure I felt good. But I could’t imagine any great circumstantial news giving me any greater joy.
Nor could I imagine really hard news stealing the reality of his love, peace, hope and joy. At least, those were my thoughts at the moment. God is love. He is peace. He is hope. And in his presence is fullness of joy.
Looking back on my solitary ride to Georgetown, South Carolina, I’ve emerged with a couple of huge realizations.
- I would not have experienced the presence of God at the level I did if I hadn’t chosen silence.
- I don’t have to be alone on a rural road to experience God’s love, peace, hope and joy.
Since my trip, I’ve had similar awareness of God’s presence in the midst of life’s conversations and activities. And he’s just as present with me right this moment as when I passed that country church.
For me, choosing times of silence has become a necessity. I must preserve and fight for times of waiting on God. If not, I tend to carry on life without him.
And that’s never a good thing.