Today’s guest post is authored by Alan Kearns who maintains a blog at devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/
Alan describes himself as an ordinary middle-aged Scotsman who loves God and is enthused by His Word as it lights his path before him. If you are not already following Alan, I would highly recommend that you consider doing so, as Alan continually delights his followers with his insightful and inspiring articles.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…. A time to be silent and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,7b (NASB)
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26 (NASB)
The Hollywood actress Greta Garbo who was famous for many film roles was also famous for saying; “I want to be alone.” Throughout history there are many cases of people seeking solitude, often in the wilderness areas. Elijah sought God in the solitude of a mountain cave when he fled from Jezebel, and God answered him (1 Kings 19:8-13). Moses also often withdrew to the mountain tops to hear God speak. Our Lord Jesus sought solitude frequently, most notably in His wilderness trials (Mark 1:12-13). Often He withdrew from His disciples and the crowds to be alone with His Father in prayer (Luke 5:16). It was not unusual for Jesus to spend a whole night on the mountains alone in prayer (Luke 6:12). Following our Lord’s example saints down the ages have sought solitude, such as St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne who often withdrew to a small islet off the coast of Lindisfarne to pray. We in the 21st Century would also benefit from times of spiritual solitude to seek God. With solitude comes the discipline of silence.
We live in a busy and noisy world, it can be difficult to find some respite from the relentless business of life. Indeed we can become used to what we call background noise, even to the point of being unsettled by its absence. We carry our dependence on sound into our devotional life, but by contrast past saints of the Christian faith valued the silence that we dislike so much. Silence can be personal or group focussed; we experience group silence occasionally at church or as a national minute of silence to reflect on past military conflicts. Personal silence can be practiced anywhere, even on public transport. But the silence that will be focussed on in this post will be personal devotional silence, which goes hand in hand with solitude.
To understand the value of spiritual silence we need to remember our Father God is all powerful, He can hear and see all things – even the depths of our heart (Psalm 139:23). David prayed silently in times of real need, seeking salvation (Psalm 62:1, 5). Personally I had a time of deep anguish when I had no words, I had just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and all I could do was cry to God – and He heard me and reassured me (Psalm 34!). We are called to pray without ceasing throughout our life; this refers to both audible and silent prayers (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Moments of need arise often without warning, in which we seek our Father’s help assured in scripture that He hears our thoughts (Romans 8:26-27).
When under attack from Satan, either by circumstances or people often the correct response is silence. Our Lord was silent before his enemies; Pilate (Mark 15:3), Herod (Luke 23:9), and before the High Priest (Matthew 26: 62 – 63). In the midst of enemies words are not always the right answer. These are moments perfect for silent prayer in our life. As we come in our devotions to draw near to our Father God, who is Holy, silence is appropriate. What could we possibly say before a Holy Almighty God? (Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7a, Zechariah 2:13). In our silence before the Almighty we can bring a sacrifice of praise and adoration, grateful for His provisions (Psalm 65:1a).
Dear reader, seek God not just in the sound of your voice or the music of worship – seek Him in Holy solitude and silence. Two things are certain in these disciplines; He will hear your heart and, He will reward you.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!