“The Blessing Of Silence”
September 4, 2015
Horse peeking out of our Amish neighbor’s barn this morning during our early morning bike ride.
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“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
Bob is a longtime friend who deals with a non-visible yet impairing disability. He has a severe form of tinnitis, which causes a constant ringing or buzzing in his ears. However he maintains a victorious outlook and for many years has shared the Gospel in nursing home services and many other settings.
We have occasionally met others with this affliction and this week I was visiting with Tracy, a lady whom I could tell was in discomfort, when I greeted her. She told me she has tinnitus, which among other things causes headaches. I told her about our friend Bob and treatments I had seen advertised on TV. She of course was aware of them but told me some of them actually make the condition worse! She however had heard about a recently developed hearing aid type device that shows great promise although they are very expensive. She has a friend that has them and the improvement was dramatic. She hopes to someday manage to get similar help.
She asked me to guess what she would like to hear after getting the hearing aids. That’s like asking a blind person what’s the first thing they’d like to see after their sight is recovered. Would Tracy want to hear pleasant sounds such as birds singing, children playing, or a babbling brook? Actually she told me the first thing she would like to “hear” is “silence” (which prompts a memory of the sixties song “Sounds Of Silence).
She can presently hear the other pleasant sounds in life but always accompanied by the ringing and buzzing. The sound she longs for is the sound of silence which prompted me to consider the blessing of silence.
We who live out in the country are accustomed to relative silence compared to where many of you live. However, during this season, we have natural noise such as the loud sounds of summer insects, the pleasant chirping of birds, occasionally even a distant cow’s moo or the bleating of sheep. Of course we have mechanical sounds as well; traffic on our road or farm equipment in the fields.
Very few have ever experienced total silence, negative decibels, which is very hard to attain. As best as I can determine the world’s quietest place is the anechoic chamber at the Orfield Labs in Minneapolis. The sound level in the room, which actually has the Guinness World Record, is -9 decibels, compared to the average “quiet” room’s 30. However this degree of quietness is actually very unpleasant. (See video and article below.)
We live in a noisy world, much of it our own choosing. Consider how many need to have the television on or music playing all the time often through headphones. I do like music but I also like silence!
Today let us consider the blessing of spiritual silence. There’s a lot of spiritual noise, voices of all types clamoring for our attention and getting louder it seems. Today’s Bible text is a gem deep in the heart of Isaiah. “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). What a timeless message from the unchanging Sovereign Lord.
MacLaren’s Exposition comments, “Israel always felt the difficulty of sustaining itself on the height of dependence on the unseen, spiritual power of God, and was ever oscillating between alliances with the Northern and Southern powers, linking itself with Assyria against Egypt, or with Egypt against Assyria.”
Likewise we also struggle with depending, trusting, and resting wholly in God regarding that which concerns us versus the “arm of flesh” that is all the substitutes for relying on God. Yet quietness and trust ever remain our source of strength. As an old hymn states, There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.”
Today may the Lord bless you with the blessing of silence and a sense of quiet peace in the midst of all the clamoring noise around us.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the Psalmist writes that we are to be still and know that You are God. And yet we run to and fro looking for solutions to the problems at hand. We purchase the newest and latest book to hopefully make us more victorious Christians. We charge up our phone or other electronic device playing Christian music that will surely elevate us to higher ground in You. We listen to great teachers of Scripture and expect that we will be stronger, wiser, and more sensitive to Your Spirit. While all of these things serve us well and build us up in the faith, there is also needed time for solace that we need to work into our schedule, a time where we block out noise, activity, and other people so that we can listen carefully for Your still small voice in an unrushed and quiet setting. For most of us that’s early in the morning before the phone rings and family members, job duties or chores demand our attention. Just as the Psalmist requested in Psalm 5, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation…for unto Thee will I pray, my voice shalt Thou hear in the morning…unto Thee I will look up.” Or as Job spoke these words, “Teach me, and I will be quiet…” (Job 6:24).
Along busy 283, the main route between Lancaster and Harrisburg we pass a farm with John 3:16 “God Loves You” sign. What many probably don’t realize is that the sign is on a manure storage tank, which to the non-initiated may look like a large above ground swimming pool, especially from the interstate! We are grateful for the many ways people seek to get in a witness for the Lord!
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