Hearing God in Silence

My Devotion was published in Disciplines 2014, p. 326
Psalm 19: 1-6

(A few years ago) I spent several days at a monastery for a personal retreat. It is the monks’ custom to speak little, even during meals. My time there helped me focus on words and silence and the other ways that God speaks.

The first part of Psalm 19 tells us that creation itself pours forth praise for God. The heavens pour “forth speech” and declare “knowledge” of the Creator. The speaking and declaring comes without sound. When has God’s creation spoken to you? What message comes through a beautiful sunrise? What do you hear in the whisper of a bird’s song? What tune does the wind in the trees play for you? What does the changing moon say? What do crashing ocean waves tell us?

We tend to fill the silence and stillness and wonder of God’s creation with words and noise. Think about an argument that you may have had with someone or perhaps a political debate you’ve watched. What was the purpose of those words—to change someone’s mind or straighten him or her out a bit? Someone once said that  we “devour” others with our words. Our goal is to consume others and, in the end, attitudes don’t change
and people are angered or feel condemned. When we fill our lives with words, we also miss God’s communication.

Spend some time today without words, contemplating God’s creation. Sense the warmth of the sunshine on your head and feel the Creator. Experience the wind blowing on your face and feel the Creator. See God’s brush in the clouds and feel the Creator. Examine a unique-looking rock and feel the Creator. The messages are there; they remain unspoken. Know you are God’s own design and feel the Creator. Help us to be still, O God, and speak to us through your creation. Remind us that we are stewards but for a time, and we are to care for all you have created on this earth. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Hearing God in Silence

  1. It took me a long time to experience what every devotional guidebook I ever read, or whatever spiritual direction I heard speak — all would encourage times of silence. Some of my best thoughts about life, myself, others (and sermons) have come during or following times of silence.

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