It is surprising how intimidating silence can be. If you ever work in a group setting silence can be downright awkward and even a little annoying.
Most of the time we do not know what to do with silence. For many, we long for silence until we experience it. A few weeks ago I took a personal retreat. Time to get away, pray, plan, read and focus. I found it ironic the exact thing I was seeking to experience in my retreat was rather uncomfortable at first. I wanted to get away, to unplug, to focus, and as I sat, beginning my first morning, I was annoyed by the silence. I wanted to turn on some music, to have something happening in the background. It is remarkable how ingrained noise has become for our society. Our world is constantly running somewhere, and there is always background noise. There are constantly deadlines to meet and work to do. So, when is it we slow down?
Churches go to considerable efforts developing theologies that explain why God no longer speaks. I am convinced God still speaks, we have just stopped listening. To be like Jesus means we commune with the Father. For Jesus, it meant getting away from everything; withdrawing to lonely, quite places and praying. Silence can be difficult, but I am learning to enjoy it, I am learning to hear the voice of God just as Elijah did, in the silence.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
1 Kings 19:12-13 NIV
Try to find time this week to step out of the busyness and noise of life and simply sit in the presence of your creator. Don’t know where to begin… open up to one of the Psalms and pray the words of the Psalmist. It is a perfect place to begin and find focus in the uncomfortable silence. As ministers and church leaders, it is impossible to lead people into a relationship with Christ if we do not have a relationship with Him ourself.