I’ve grown to appreciate silence the last couple of years. I’ve slowly embraced the beauty and value of it. I’ve realized that when I am most worked up and most upset and most distraught, is when I most want to distract myself. I want to turn on the TV, hang out with friends, and listen to music. But these are the moments when I also most need, and most crave (deep down), silence.
When I am silent is when I am most honest with myself.
When I am silent is when I am most honest with my Creator.
But silence is painful. Because in the silence I hear truth. I hear things that have been there all along, things I’ve been ignoring, things I’ve pushed away. And the thing I’ve most ignored and pushed away lately has been grief.
January through March is quite possibly the most beautiful time of year in Florida. Fall and Spring have always been my favorite times of year, and Florida seems to combine them into one beautiful season that makes up for all the heat of June through August. I love this time of year, because it’s gorgeous. The leaves change color, “winter” flowers bloom (including roses), and the wind blows nice and cool. The mornings dawn crisp and cool, the day turns warm and sunny, and the evening slowly ends the way the day began.
And I get to enjoy this. I get to enjoy it with the man I love, my best friend, the man I will marry. I get to enjoy it with the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. And it makes me so happy my heart feels like it will burst.
But then I am silent. And in the silence I am realizing that as happy as I am, I am also grieving. I’m grieving because sin is ugly and it hurts the people I love. I’m grieving because life is difficult and love and friendship are hard to walk through.
And in the silence I find my weakness: my longing to remain silent.
And in the silence I find my strength: the courage to speak anyway.
And in the silence I find the words I need.
Silence is painful. But silence is also beautiful. Because in the silence I find grace and peace and raw, gentle honesty. I find encouragement and boldness to ask the questions no one wants to hear.
I’ve taken up coloring lately. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of adult coloring books. Why? Because I found one with Psalms. And I realized that as I color the page I can meditate on the Psalm. And in this book I found an old friend, a verse that helped ground me in hard times. And so I reread the entire Psalm. Psalm 46.
God is our refuge.
God is our strength.
God is present.
God is help in our times of trouble.
And within the chaos of the world and the ugliness of sin, we will not fear.
God is bigger than all of these things.
God is with us.
God of Jacob is our refuge.
God created the earth.
God stops the war and the suffering.
And in that stillness: know that He is God.
God is exalted.
God is our refuge.
It is not in the chaos and the noise that we most hear God speak. It’s not in the happy and peaceful times that we most hear God speak. I believe that it’s in the moments when life feels like it’s falling apart and we dare to be silent that He speaks loudest. And He reminds us of who He is, who He has always been, and who He will always be.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah flees Jezebel. Elijah has just witnessed God’s great power. He’s been used by God to defeat the prophets of Baal and Asherah. He’s seen fire come down from the sky and consume and soaking mess of an offering. And God has protected him from being killed by Jezebel.
But Elijah is afraid.
God feeds him.
God takes care of him.
God gets his attention with wind and earthquake and fire.
And in the silence, God speaks.
And in the silence, Elijah finds the strength to go on.
So I challenge you: be silent. Be honest. Be bold. God is speaking, He is always speaking, sometimes we just need to be still and listen.