A couple of days ago I went on a walk— more specifically, I dashed out the door for a 15-minute escape from screaming babies during dinner time. As I abandoned my husband to the little rulers (I regret nothing) and strolled along the walking path behind my home I watched the fog hovering over the hill to my left, felt the mist on my face, and absentmindedly listened to the creek that trailed beside me.
As I moved along, doing nothing and (if you’re a mom you understand) utterly enjoying doing nothing, I suddenly stopped, realizing the creek that had been gurgling so pleasantly beside me suddenly went silent. Instinctively I turned toward it, almost as though I expected the creek to have disappeared. But, of course, there it was. The rocks that had caused little waterfalls and light splashes several feet before were just not there, leaving the waters free to pool itself into a flat glass of quiet. A few feet ahead were rocks and it would again make that lovely babbling brook noise, but for now it was silent.
And just as God so often gave the prophets messages through the menial, day-to-day images of life, I felt the symbolism forming:
Is this not like the way God is working now?
Sometimes He boldly shows me miracles, shouts in devotion times, speaks through people’s messages and encouragements. At points my life is thrilling and big things are happening and I start to think it will never end. But then come seasons of silence, where it’s tempting to wonder if God is doing anything with my life and my work at all.
Then I am reminded, even in silence God is moving waters.
Quietly the stream creeps toward the next set of rocks, the next exciting and thrilling moment. But all the time God is faithfully there and the work is still sufficient.
There is beauty in silence. There is life, and hope, and great and wonderful reminders from God that reach us when we turn off our phones, step away from our computers, get away from the haziness of distraction and let nothing– and then something– fill us.
Frederick Buechner states, “Out of the silence let the only real news come, which is sad news [our sin and brokenness] before it is glad news [God’s forgiveness] and that is fairy tale last of all. The preacher is not brave enough to be literally silent for long, and since it is his calling to speak the truth with love, even if he were brave enough, he would not be silent for long because we are none of us very good at silence. It says too much.” (Telling the Truth)
“Be silent and know that I am God, says the Lord.” (Psalm 46:10)