The Lord is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:24-26
This is just a short piece of one of my favorite scripture passages. It is a message of hope and silent surrender to God’s plan. This is the King James Version, but the New American standard translates it, “It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.”
Silence, it seems to be a rare commodity in our society. My children seem to have ear buds in their ears continually; music or audio books play while they drive, while something or someone is chattering somewhere all the time. Their choices may be edifying to the spirit, but I worry that the world in which we live has ill equipped us for silence.
For many of us the only occasion that we may seek out solitude and silence is for prayer, and then for some reason we feel as though we must fill the air with words – whether we speak them audibly or not. Dietrich Bonheoffer calls it, “prattling in the presence of God.”
I am afraid that most of my prayers are indeed “prattling”, but when I purposely quiet my thoughts, it is only then that the voice of the Lord can be heard in my life. God may speak to me through his word or the edifying words of others or in a variety of different ways, but it is only after I have silenced myself that I am really able to listen.
When God spoke to Elijah it wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but it was with a still small voice that God spoke. (1 Kings 19) He could have chosen to speak with pomp and circumstance, and sometimes He does, but when He wanted Elijah to really listen, He spoke in a whisper.
God can and does speak to man in many different ways, but often it is with the still small voice that whispers into the silence that God speaks the loudest. It is true that sometimes we may leave our time of prayer feeling as though we have heard nothing, but it is doubtful we will ever hear anything if we are never silent to listen.