I’ve mentioned my dad in previous posts. He really was quite the character. And one of the things I remember most about him was how loud he was. He was a preacher and loved to, not just preach a sermon, but yell a sermon every chance he could get. He also had the loudest laugh, and when he sneezed, I think the rafters said, “Gesundheit!”
My dad even had a way of making quiet moments, like studying, loud. I can picture him now, sitting at the kitchen table with all of his books and Bibles, studying for a sermon. Most of the time, he had a boom box behind him blaring a Cardinals game or some other KMOX broadcast. And what made it even worse was that he was hard of hearing (go figure!), so he would almost always have the station playing a little off tune—allowing, for not just static, but annoyingly loud static to be transmitted throughout our house.
In other words, I grew up very used to noise. So now I find myself feeling uncomfortable if I don’t turn on the radio or the television or plug into my iPod. And it would just feel really weird to drive in my van without some type of music or talk to accompany my journey. Don’t get me wrong, I like silence. Sometimes I even crave it, but I don’t often pursue it.
I think God wants us to pursue silence regularly. The Bible says that Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to pray. And not only prayer, but solitude was a priority for him. He knew that silence was necessary to keep His focus on God, to emotionally, mentally, and spiritually reenergize, and more than anything, to hear God’s voice. If Jesus needed that, how much more do you and I need it? I don’t know about you, but I need to withdraw.
“ . . . He (Jesus) went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, . . .” Matthew 14:23 (NIV)
“But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 (CEV)
“The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone.” Luke 9:10 (CEV)
“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, . .” Luke 22:41 (NIV)