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Eternal Perspectives: Silence and Solitude

We best hear the Lord’s voice when we’re surrounded by silence. Author Richard Foster counts silence as one of the spiritual disciplines. How many church services adhere to that discipline during worship hour? It is in silence and solitude that we can more easily hear what God would tell us through His Holy Spirit. So…let’s listen up, folks!

Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair

Silence is golden

My husband, Don, and I traveled with another couple to a mountain lake in British Columbia one summer. Because of the exertion of the climb, we hardly spoke. The silence was earsplitting.

After we reached the top and set up camp, we took turns fishing for trout from a small, leaky rowboat found hidden among overgrown brush on the shore. Don and I shared a love for nature, and we reveled in the hushed atmosphere. Later, after our friends had also caught a string of trout, the tenor of the experience changed. As silent as we’d been earlier, now we chattered and laughed and joked with an exuberance and joy that comes from being in the pure air and ruggedness of a private mountaintop.

Conversation is often like that, isn’t it? Noisy at one moment, quiet as the footfalls of a white-tailed deer the next. The trouble is, living among the din of television, traffic, and Itunes from a cell phone can make it hard to find a spot of quietness. The struggle to maintain total silence sometimes is downright impossible. Worse yet, many of us actually prefer the noise and find it hard to quiet ourselves long enough to think.

But we hear God’s voice best in the quietness. Quiet places can be out of reach for some of us. For others, quietness is so foreign that we believe we must be surrounded by noise. How can we hear a friend while sitting in a crowded, noisy room? Conversation comes much easier in a quiet corner. Perhaps we all need to turn down the volume of our lives and seek a quiet place without distractions.

It is said of Martin Luther that one day he had “so much to do today that I need to spend an extra hour in prayer.” Jesus’ example of going up a mountain to spend quiet time with His Father is a good one for all of us to follow. Our place need not be on top of a mountain. It can be in a closet, in a recliner, on a park bench, or over a sink full of dirty dishes. Wherever we choose, our “sanctuary” will be a place where we can learn to know God better, where He will joyfully share His promises, His purposes, and His peace.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Lord, help us find our own mountaintop or closet where we can meet You in silence and peace. Give us eyes opened to Your purposes, ears tuned to Your voice, and hearts softened to receive Your love through Your Word and Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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