Before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
He Exists In Silence – The Hearing Series – Part 2
God is always speaking. He is a constant communicator. Sound waves of love and grace and peace and direction and more emanate from his essence reaching all who will hear.
You and me? We are surrounded by noise. We’ve grown so accustomed to it that we hardly notice the absence of silence. Pure natural silence devoid of human-made noise is on the brink of extinction. There are very few places left in the world where you can sit for longer than an hour and hear nothing but original creation. Airplanes, cars, trucks, cities, factories, even human voices… their sounds almost cover the entire earth.
When I study, I listen to music. When I’m at home, I like having the TV on in the background. I make phone calls in the car; listen to podcasts while I'm cooking or vacuuming… I subconsciously fill my life with sound.
What about you?
Do you have a TV? Do you listen to the radio in the car? Podcasts? Two TVs? iPod? Smartphone? Email? Social Media notifications? Then there’s visual noise: clutter, billboards, TV, ads, newspapers, magazines, social media…
We are surrounded by noise. And subsequently, we are awkward with the quiet. We don't quite know how to relate to it, have a relationship with it. We don’t know how to sit still, how to be silent. How to just ‘be’ with someone, no words or sounds, just present.
We’re so used to instant search results on Google; we complain if the wait to see our GP is longer than a week; we can access our bank accounts, emails and our best friends 24/7 on our smart phones. Even people who don't like us have an instant access to us through social media. Communication is constant. And noisy. And cluttered.
Typically, when we ask God for direction, we listen out for him as we would listen for a return phone call from our kid's school, or the financial advisor, or the doctor's receptionist. He'll call or text or send some obvious message like everything, and everyone else does.
And we wonder why we can’t hear him?
We often pray like we're placing calls, we petition like we're writing a letter to our local government official, we apply for miracles with our faith and good deeds like we would a bank loan. We do our bit, and God does his bit, right? We wait for him to answer, respond or reply… But mostly, he doesn't.
In his book, “Wishful Thinking,” Frederick Buechner said,
“In Hebrew and Greek, the Latin word spiritus originally meant “breath” (as in expire, respiratory, and so on), and breath is what you have when you're alive and don't have when you're dead. Thus spirit = breath = life, the aliveness and power of your life, and to speak of your spirit (or soul) is to speak of the power of life that is in you… God also has a spirit — is Spirit, says the Apostle John (4:24). Thus God is the power of the power of life itself, has breathed and continues to breathe life into his creation. Inspires it.“
Before God exists in loud declarations, he exists in silence. He exists in the empty space. In the breath. The breathing in and out of inexpressible words. Words more felt than heard. Present. Constant. Eternal.
He beats behind, through, and in, it all.
And that's where Elijah found him… on a mountain, in a cave, in the stillness.
Written by Lizzy Milani