After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)
God has created some truly magnificent wonders in this world for His children to enjoy. We can often take these things for granted. For example, the multicoloured rainbow, sparkling constellations, the ferocity of thunder and lightning, towering mountains, rapidly flowing rivers… and silence.
That last one seems a bit out of place amount the rest, but who amongst us has not appreciated the beauty of silence at some time in our lives?
In my teenage years I was surrounded by noise. Whenever I awoke, my first action was to stretch out my hand and switch on the radio, listening to the latest chart hits as I got ready for school. On becoming a Christian, that was one of the first challenges I faced; not switching on the radio the moment my eyes opened. God was wanting me to find His beauty in silence.
Since that time, decades ago now, I can look back and appreciate many times God drew near in the silence. The night before my father died, I was praying in the next room to where he lay peacefully slumbering through his final hours on earth. As I prayed, my voice fell silent, and into that silence, the presence of God descended. He filled, and I mean FILLED, the whole room. There was not a fraction of a square centimetre where His presence did not fill.
In that silence, I suddenly knew I would see my father again one day. He was going to Heaven. God’s voice resounded in the silence.
One evening in Galilee, Israel, accompanied by a friend, I got into a car. About to turn on the engine, suddenly I heard it… in the silence was the presence of God. The sound of His presence increased and increased. For about a quarter of an hour, we sat in that silence listening to His presence.
We live in a world of a million sounds, well, at least it seems that way. Some are melodious and peaceful and carry a beauty with them. Others are loud, brash, and clamour for our attention.
There is a danger that in the cacophony of sound, we miss the beauty of the ‘gentle whisper.’ Elijah had to go alone onto a mountainside to hear it. He left Mount Carmel. He left those who were threatening his life. He left his servant. What is it you have to do leave today to hear the beauty that there is in silence?
“Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in his beauty deigns to walk.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Copyright © 2014 Struthers Memorial Church All rights reserved
Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.