Silence by Peggy

I remember the days when the kids were all little and there were several cousins and/or friends over, playing.  Normally they would be outside, but on rainy days, they were cooped up inside.  The decibel level was off the charts in the house on those days!  While I have always loved the sound of kids at play, there would inevitably come a point in the day when I craved a break.  The quiet moments were easy to achieve back then. By calling a time-out, or bribing them with popsicles and pudding I could get a welcome respite from the frenzy.  I cherished it.

The noise that assaults my senses now is not from rambunctious children. It comes from the “talking heads” on the TV news, and the rantings on the Facebook and other social media outlets.  It just never seems to turn off, does it?

The odious cacophony coming from politicos seeking election, the pummeling of rantings and half- truths constantly in our social media streams all seek to convince us that their voice is THE voice, the only one worthy of being heard. I feel that the louder and more obnoxious the voices become, the less anyone listens. Even if I agree with what is being introduced, I don’t want to read or listen because of the manner in which the subject is broached. I try to tune it out, to scroll past it all as I lurk, searching for the feel-good posts of kids and puppies.

The disturbing result of the banshee-like posts is the deafening sound of silence. Unlike the covetous quiet that ensues when the graceless masses are shushed, I fear the silence of the righteous and level-headed is interpreted as a thunderous roar of acquiescence to those boorish mouthpieces.

While there are times when silence is indeed, golden, there are times when it is harmful.  It is time for the well-spoken among us to speak up and be heard.  There are serious issues in our society, and very quick changes afoot.  Where is the voice of the majority?  The tide of acceptable behavior is being turned by the smallest of rudders, while the anchor is ignored.

Why don’t we hear from those that know how to string together a grammatically correct sentence and present it in a clear, concise manner?  I find that I am one of the guilty, just rolling my eyes and making my case in my own head, unheard by those that need to listen.

Contrary to what one may think, I don’t maintain my silence because I am afraid of criticism or of the challenge of a different opinion, or even of being verbally attacked by those that think differently than I.  I find that I am silent because I don’t wish to be baited into battle. But, while I am weary, I do think we need to stand up and be counted.

Years ago when the health curriculum at one of my children’s school got way too sexually oriented and explicit, I went to the teacher, principal and other parents, and, collectively, our voice was heard and the curriculum modified to a more age-appropriate learning experience.  We didn’t rant or scream; we presented our case in a non-threatening manner, well-thought out, and articulated exactly what we wanted to say, making a clear and concise point. We got their attention and they listened.  They didn’t all agree, but they respected what we said because we were non-confrontational and well-versed on the subject.  We did our homework before we opened our collective mouths, and it paid off.

I have seen two videos the last two days explaining the changes to the health and family curriculum in the public schools in two different States.  I have not verified the validity of either video, so I won’t go into details here, but it has been suggested that the school boards have acted against the will of the parents to introduce new courses to the children concerning sexually explicit content.  If this is true, the battle is even more than the one I fought all those years ago.  While I faced everything at a local level, today’s issues are fought on a world-wide battlefield, a tangled web, indeed.  It will take more than the voices of the local parents.  It will take us all.  Woefully, this is only one example.

I am, indeed, tired of the rantings on social media, in the news and so many other outlets.  I don’t listen to them, but I do hear them.  My silence does not indicate my agreement with them, or my total ignorance of the situation; it simply means I have chosen thus far not to engage.  I think now it is time to be heard.  It’s time to pay attention and have the conversations. The future of our children’s children depend on it. I feel it is our reasonable service.

What is the topic that is bothering you most right now?  Go ahead—I’m listening.

“A word fitly spoken (is like) apples of gold in pictures of silver”.  Prov. 25:11

Silence by Ronda

My first lesson about the value of silence came as a young mother of young children.  During those years, I was like most young mothers, searching for a moment to hear my own thoughts.  It seemed like back then those moments were hard to come by and I had to actually learn how to carve them out of the day for my own sanity and the safety of the entire family.  LOL.  I am just kidding. I hope you understand what I am saying.  Honestly though, I did learn that I had to set aside the time I needed because I was the adult, the mom.  So I learned, slowly.  I am happy to say that eventually I taught my children to do so as well. During the day we would have a time when we turned everything off. No tv…no video games…no talking. Coloring or reading books were the best options, but it was QUIET time.  Those moments were important and yet I don’t think I really had the full revelation as to why.  Back then it was an important discipline because of natural reasons…but I have learned that there is a spiritual aspect to silence that may be even more important.

A huge part of my learning included reading books about silence and solitude.  At that time in my life it was like a cold glass of water to my thirsty soul.  In silence, I discovered the things that most occupied my mind.  It was chaotic and that is putting it mildly. As a stay at home mom, I was always thinking of the next thing that I had to do.   This pattern of thinking made it difficult for me to experience the peace and grace that I knew was available for me in Christ.  However, the more I carved out time for silence and solitude, the more I was able to enter into a place of His peace and presence.  After much practice, it became part of my praying.  I wouldn’t simply spend time not speaking but being “fully present “ and silent in prayer-no words-no thoughts-just listening.  Listening is the spiritual aspect of silence as prayer.

I learned to listen and hear God more when I started spending time in silence.  Yes, I had to be diligent to take thoughts captive and keep my focused attention on Him.  Interestingly, hearing wasn’t the only fruit of silence.  His Presence was the most precious fruit. This presence isn’t the presence that comes from congregational worship.  This presence is a deep abiding knowing of His nearness, an awareness and consciousness.  It is discovering that He is always VERY near.  The secret place is always available because Jesus is the Door that makes His throne room available and His throne is right in my midst…in the center of my being.

So when I come to the Father through Jesus and am just silent, He is the main event. It’s not always about my needs or requests or intercession.  In silence, He is the One I have come for and He knows that I have come to just be with Him. No agenda. No pressing in. No work. I am just turning my love and attention toward Him.  I don’t even come for His manifested presence because I know He is there by faith.  I am abiding from within and becoming His habitation. When His manifested presence does come I am physically embraced by His love.

In some Christian circles it is called centering prayer or silent prayer.  More recently, it has also become known as soaking or prophetic soaking if music or scriptural decrees are used.  Regardless of the terminology or methodology, my experience has been that silence is more than golden.  It is a spiritual discipline that has helped me discover deeper intimacy with the Father.  It is now an essential part of my prayer life and I have grown in my stillness.  I don’t struggle to quiet my mind as much and I can enter in even if there is noise all around. Many of my most profound experiences with the Father have come through this simple discipline.

 

Here are a few scripture references about waiting silently before the LORD.

Psalm 23:1-3

Psalm 4:4

Matthew 11:28-30

Hebrews 4:9-11

Psalm 46:10

Isaiah 40:29-31

Psalm 27:14

Isaiah55:1-3

Luke 10:39

 

Here are a few books that helped me along my journey into silence.

  • Experiencing God Through Prayer by Madame Guyon
  • Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
  • Breathe: Finding Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
  • Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
  • Rest: Living In Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent (I haven’t read this one but believe that God intends for us to enjoy Sabbath rest and I do enjoy most of this authors books).

 

We all have an invitation to come to Him in this most simple way as His child all because of Jesus.  Thank you Jesus.  Enter in.

Silence by andrea

It’s enough to make a man crazy, enough to break a man’s faith…. Remembering what broke him apart… Jesus knew what it was to be alone, He knew the silence of God. All these lines are from one of Andrew Peterson’s song, The Silence of God. It’s worth listening to, simply because I think we all feel that way at times.

I listen to this song often because even though I have my own struggles, it has been many years since I’ve felt really alone or known God’s silence. It’s not wise to be so removed from the pain of others that we forget, Christ feels their pain in Himself. For me to grasp the heart of God means I must relate to His pain and yours. Jesus knows your pain and I don’t believe He is ever silent although we can often be either unwilling or unable to hear Him.

 

It is so simple to say, the scriptures say, “my sheep hear my voice”, yet I have cried so hard my own sobs were the only thing I could hear. Or at times I have hardened my heart to the point that even while God spoke I was unwilling to listen. Angry, alone, grief stricken, even suicidal. How does one hear God in those moments? I can only say, remember.

I remember the scriptures, the many stories of those first disciples and all they gave to share the good news of Jesus Christ.They must have felt alone and forsaken. Yet they were focused on one thing, “Jesus”. They knew He was worth everything they suffered. When I was lost, Jesus not only found me, He revived me, breathed new life into me and gave me a love I had never known. Living in gratitude for His mercy, knowing I had done nothing worthy of this great love, keeps me remembering. Is God silent? I am breathing, the world is spinning at over 1000 mph. There is peace in my home, in my family there is healing and deep deep love. No God is not silent.

I can also look across history, seeing the centuries impacted by the gospel. Entire countries transformed into civilized nations. Charities, education, compassion, children became people, not just their parents chattel, orphanages were built and God parents were there to help grow and care for children. Forgiveness became a virtue, where once strength meant how much you owned and how many people you could kill or maim, Christianity taught forgiveness, generosity, kindness – even toward your enemies. Though imperfect, its impact has so transformed the world, there is no place left that has not been touched by the love, grace and mercy of Christ. No God is not silent. He does not work on our time tables, does not value all the things we value but when we value what God values, when we value love and truth, our hearts will open to hear His voice and we will walk in His ways and then eventually when death stands at our door, we will not fear because in death we have the final victory. For then we will hear Him say, “well done, enter into the joy of the Lord”.

God bless, andrea