The pace of life is faster than ever before. I have spent the week dealing with train delays due to the flooding in the West Country. Time like this would once have been spent thinking or talking to fellow passengers. I spent it working on a laptop (on the rare occasions when I got a seat) or glued to my mobile phone. There are quite a few powerful scriptures suggesting that, rather than filling every second with activity, it would be a good idea if we learnt to make time in our busy schedules to stop, and listen to God.
Silence requires discipline. To stop making noise is pretty easy (unless you happen to be a child)! But to quieten your busy mind and focus on God without wandering onto thinking about the next task in the day, or a problem at the back of your mind, takes some doing. This was brought home to me during the two minute silence on Remembrance Sunday recently. Two minutes feels like a very long time for one who is unaccustomed to even short periods of silence!
The passages below teach us that silence can sometimes be a good thing, and allow us to focus our minds of God:
- The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him (Hab 2:20).
- Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling (Zech 2:13).
- Be still, and know that I am God (Psa 46:10).
I am not advocating a vow of silence! There is a time for silence, and a time for noise in our relationship with God (Ecc 3:7). In fact, God and his faithful followers positively encourage noise (Psa 98:4, Judges 7:18). So, it seems that deciding when to be noisy and when to be silent in our relationship with God depends on context and is a judgement call - much like in any relationship really. The better you know a person, the easier it is to know when to speak and when to be quiet - and perhaps there is a lesson here for us in our relationship with God.
In summary then, try to make some time to stop and listen to God!