Monday, March 26, 2012

Be Quiet


What emotion do you feel when you are surrounded by silence? Relief? Peace? Fear? Are you ever actually surrounded by silence in your life?

I have spent the past three Sunday afternoons in silence at a local arboretum. The weather has been fantastic in the Midwest, so part of me just wanted to get outside and enjoy the unusual warmth. I also love God’s creation and seeing little bits of Him in His handiwork. Creation is like us looking at a painting and seeing a little bit of the artist in it. We learn things about the painter from observing his work. When I spend time in God’s creation, I get to know Him a little better. I see His orderliness, His sense of humor and His flair for the dramatic. Have you ever stopped to look at the intricacy of a tree leaf or the amazing colors displayed in a sunset? Really look?

The main reason I decided to spend time in silence these past weeks was to connect with God better. I don’t often take enough time to listen to God throughout the week. I usually do all the talking. (Does this surprise anyone?) Sometimes, I just need to be quiet and listen.

Silence, though, can be intimidating. In fact, in America, I believe that tuning out silence is an epidemic. For many, our fear of silence is why we always have the television on or why the radio goes on the moment we start the ignition in our cars or why we sleep with a fan. Perhaps it’s not really the silence we’re afraid of as much as it’s ourselves that we’re avoiding. We are comfortable in our shallowness. We don’t want to go deeper because deeper means being vulnerable and open and we don’t want to get hurt.

There are lots of things that God talks to me about in the silence that I don’t want to hear. Sometimes He gently rebukes me about some sin in my life or urges me – again – to do something that I’ve been neglecting. However, there are other times when He whispers a kind word of encouragement or just tells me how much He loves me. If I’m not taking the time to get quiet and listen to Him, I can’t change the stuff He wants me to change, but I also can’t hear His heart of love. I am slowly learning not to resist silence.

What would you encounter if you decided to be quiet? Would God remind you of someone you need to forgive or someone you hurt? Maybe the silence would allow you time to work out your doubts or ponder your next step after your dreams have been dashed. Maybe He wants to encourage you or show you something wondrous in His creation. Maybe He just wants to say, “I love you.”

Whatever God has for you, don’t avoid the silence. Embrace it. Make time for it. Incorporate it into your life as a regular practice. Psalm 62:5 says, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him.”[1] Our hope comes from God; shouldn’t we take some time to at least thank Him for that? Find a place where you can rest and open your heart to what God has to say to you. You will be blessed.

If you took an hour to be silent with God today, what do you think He would say to you? Why not take a walk and find out?

Copyright ©2012 by Cherry Lyn Hoffner. You may not reproduce this post in any form without permission. However, linking to this post is encouraged.

[1] New International Version 1984 (NIV1984) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica


  1. Wow Cherry, congrats on your blog! I'm honored to be the first person to comment, I think. I've never actually been on a blog, so I think I'm the first one, i'm pretty sure. So anyway, I've had a handful of silent moments with the Lord over the past few months. In the middle of the night, when there are no screaming kids awake, or snoring husband (becuase he works midnights sometimes), God has grabbed my attention, and truly brought me to my knees to repent for sins I have been praying for him to rid me of for years. I'm truly renewed following those times with the Lord. And there have been a couple times of happy encouragement from God as I intensely study His Word at 4am. And although those silent times are few and far between in this stage of life, I'm wholeheartedly grateful for them.

    1. Brigette, I love how you are using even those fleeting middle-of-the-night moments to get some quiet time with the Lord! You're a great example to other young moms who are at a difficult stage of life for practicing the discipline of silence and solitude. I'm glad that God is using those times to encourage you and keep you moving in the right direction. Press on - God will bless you for your obedience.

  2. I like silence. When the daycare kids are sleeping in the middle of the day and my own family is at school and work, I revel in the quietness. But too often I fill my mind with my own thoughts and meanderings. I know that I could use that time to focus on God and yet I don't. :( You're right in saying that I'm avoiding myself.


    My Dad's favorite verse was Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..." Last Sunday that verse was referenced in Pastor Viars' message and in the NASB it says something like "cease striving..." instead of "be still." I like "cease striving." Stop trying to do and be everything myself and instead let Him do and be.

    "Find rest in God alone." "Cease striving." Thank you for the reminder dear friend!

    1. Leslie, I also just came across the NASB version of that verse and I love it as well. "Cease Striving" should be my theme verse. I need to tattoo it to the inside of my brain! This is what I have struggled with for the past few years - trying to let God work and not get in His way. I desperately want to get that, but some days it just does not compute and I get so frustrated with myself. I need to figure out how to truly rest in Him and trust that what He has planned is far better than what I have planned.

    2. Progressive sanctification...becoming more like Jesus. I'm so glad our Father is patient with us but also helps us!