June 24, 2020

A Calm in Silence

From the honking horns of city streets to the clicking of deer hooves passing by. From the roaring of airplanes soaring overhead to the pecking of woodpeckers on a dead tree. From the pollution of Washington, D.C., to the clear crisp air of Paradise, California—there is a calmness in the sound of silence for me this year.

As I take a brisk walk, I hear the crushing sound of the fallen autumn leaves underfoot and the sound of wind whistling through Ponderosa Pines. I glance up to watch a family of six deer looking at me as if I’ve entered into their terrain. There is a calm in silence.

What is silence? In this world of busyness, schedules to meet, planes to catch, appointments to keep, clocks to make sure we’re on time—is there room for silence?

During my personal devotional time, which I call my God moments, I’ve found 108 texts and references to silence. I believe Satan likes to deafen us with clatter as we fill our silent moments with “things to do” to finish our checklist for that day. From morning to night, we have our moments of silence filled with our stuff. And yet, there is no time for silence.

I’m reminded of the famous Scripture, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. . . . He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:1-3, NKJV). Often our version would go like this: We want for nothing, therefore we don’t need to lie down in “green pastures,” which means our souls are not restored by the Shepherd.

What about you? What about your lifestyle–right now? In the midst of a pandemic, with protests happening all around us, I’m suddenly confronted with my own life. I’m bombarded with life’s unexpected appointments, yet I’m stunned and numbed by life’s unpredicted disasters, which catch me ill-equipped to handle the “tsunamis” in my life.

I’m reminded of a quote from Oswald Chambers about silence. “Has God trusted you with His silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. . . . If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy—silence.”*

Silence is God’s intimate gift to soothe our souls. Listen to His voice. May this coming year be a year you feel His intimacy of silence.

Mary H. Maxson is retired after serving as an associate pastor of the Paradise Adventist Church. She and her husband, Ben, have two adult children and a grandson, Benjamin.

*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Our Daily Bread Publishing, revised edition 1992).