“Be Still, My Soul”

(Psalm 62: 5)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,

    for my hope is in Him.

Noise seems to be a way of life these days.  We are quite the chatty society, I must say.  Everyone has a remedy, an opinion — always something to voice.  We stand at the ready to defend and argue our points of view, and we have grown so accustomed to this way of life that we don’t know how to be quiet anymore.  Silence is now so foreign to us that it makes us feel awkward, afraid, and wary.  There is no noise, so there must be something wrong…

Have you ever been in the waiting room of a hospital?  Maybe you’ve sat there waiting for the birth of a child, or maybe you’ve paced the floor while someone that you care for was in surgery or in the emergency room.  No matter the situation, if you’ve been there in one of those waiting rooms, then you know that it can be a very long and agonizing experience.  You just want to know what is happening, how your loved one is faring, and what the outcome will be when it’s all finished.  All of the thinking and worrying often lends to an even longer time-frame, or so it often feels, and what do we do when we are nervous and waiting?  We get noisy.  Very rarely have I been in a waiting room that was completely silent.  There is usually a television playing quietly in a corner.  People are either laughing, crying, chatting nervously, or some combination of the like.  The truth is that our inner noise almost always translates into outer noise.  We seem to know no other way of coping with the uneasiness that comes when we have to wait. 

However, there are times in life when we have to go against the grain of what feels natural to us.  It may feel like the logical thing for us to spend our prayer time speaking to (and sometimes at) God, but there is most assuredly a time for silence.  One of my most cherished passages of scripture is Ecclesiastes 3, which tells us that there is a time and a season for every concern of our lives — even silence. 

1 For everything there is a season,

    a time for every activity under heaven.

2 A time to be born and a time to die.

    A time to plant and a time to harvest.

3 A time to kill and a time to heal.

    A time to tear down and a time to build up.

4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.

    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.

    A time to keep and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear and a time to mend.

    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

8 A time to love and a time to hate.

    A time for war and a time for peace.

Finding the discipline within ourselves to hold back our sentiments and musings, to just be silent and still, can sometimes feel impossible.  We get caught in the cyclone of thoughts and emotions that hits us when we let our thoughts run wild, and instead of holding onto the anchor of God’s truth, our HOPE, we let go and let the storm fling us around among the noise — our noise — until we land in a heap, still bewildered, still waiting.  Holding onto Him can be hard for us, because we forget that our strength comes from listening to Him, and that listening is much more than just being silent on the outside.  We have to quiet the inner tempest as well.  Every part of us has to submit to the calm and hush.

…all that I am…

It is in these moments when we are truly quiet, truly trusting in Him, earnestly and actively seeking His voice, that we find our hope — our peace.  Silence is more than just being quiet.  It is fully surrendering every part of ourselves, from the inner workings of our minds to the outer manifestations of what we reveal to the world.  He sees it all, He wants it all, and He waits for us to trust Him enough to take the time to hear Him. 

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.  (John 10: 27-28)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, part of being human is that we sometimes go with the way of the world, rather than relying on Your voice.  But…Your word says to trust You with all of my heart and to never lean on my own understanding — my own ways.  So help me, Father.  Help me to listen to and know Your voice.  Give me the patience and the diligence to just be silent in Your presence, so that I can follow You, holding tightly, with my all, to Your hope.  Amen. 

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