The art of being quiet
I’m guilty of it, and you likely are as well.
As soon as there is a lull in the day, a brief moment of waiting, you reach into your pocket or purse and grab your phone. You don’t need to make a call, and you just checked your email five minutes ago, but for some reason you just have to pull it back out and scroll through endless post on your favorite social media sites.
You are not looking for something; you’re just looking at something. Our eyes gloss over with a zombie like stare as we just scroll, scroll and scroll down again.
It’s instinctual now. If there is a red light or an elevator ride, we look at our phones. I’m not writing this to tell you to stop; I’m writing this to remind myself of what is more valuable than time spent on my phone.
People don’t give up bad habits unless it is replaced with a better habit, and I think the story of Elijah gives us a hint at the better habit.
Elijah spent a lot of time by himself—three years to be exact—just waiting for God to do something. After his time of waiting was up, God took him to Mount Sinai and hides him in a cave.
Elijah feels an earthquake, mighty winds and fire, but we are told after each event that God was not in the noise. No, He was to be found in the soft whisper or, as it literally translates, the thin silence.
As I read that, I wondered “What does thin silence sound like?” Even simpler, I wonder what just regular silence sounds like.
I live a mile from some train tracks, and you can hear them run all night long. The first night I slept in that house I was afraid that I had made a big mistake as I lay awake all night long. However, it only took a few days before I slept like a baby, regardless of the amount of noise. Noise, it turns out, is very easy to get used to.
Although I can adjust to a noisy room rather quickly, I find it much more difficult to adjust to silence. Turns out, I’m addicted to the noise, and you might be as well.
Noise is our universal cultural language at the moment. We live hurried and noisy lives, and as soon as it’s quiet, we turn on the radio, TV or just stare at our phones. So what is better than noise? It’s not just silence; it is God in the silence.
God tells Elijah that HE is in the soft whisper, and if that is a place where I can hear God then that is what I want. I’m not saying we all start to meditate for hours a day; it’s much simpler than that. I just want to hear from my Heavenly Father. I want to visit with my dad. My dad has always told me that love is spelled T-I-M-E.
You whisper when someone is really close to you. That’s why God whispered to Elijah—to let him know that He was standing right beside him. Elijah was not alone, and neither are you. God stands right next to you.
I pray that you begin to develop a desire to have less noise in your life and find moments where you can just be aware that God, the Creator, is close enough to whisper to you.