How can you expect God to speak in the gentle and inward voice which melts the soul, when you are making so much noise with your rapid reflections? Be silent and God will speak again. (Francois Fenelon)The great misfortune – to be incapable of solitude. (Jean De La Bruyere)
I have a friend once said, ‘I cannot be silence more than 30 minutes except when I’m sleeping.’ She’s right. She’ll become a dead fish if nobody talks to her. For some people to be silence is a stairway to hell. It makes them feel so helpless. In silence they cannot manage or control others. Sometime, they interpreted silence as loneliness. My brother has a habit to on the TV and not watching it. When I asked him about it, he said, “It’s so silent here.” We turned the music or radio even we don’t really listen to it. Some utter the word ‘boring’ (or post it in FB) simply because he/she don’t know what to do in time of silence and solitude.
Have you try to be silence? It’s hard sometime, right? But do you know that without silence and stillness, we cannot become a deep person. Naturally, I talk too much and most of the time I speak the unnecessary words in the wrong time at the wrong place. My lips show a shallow person I am and it sounds hollow. Richard Foster writes, ‘A person who is under the Discipline of silence is a person who can say what needs to be said when it needs to be said.’ Proverb 25:11 added, ‘A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.’ In a short form,
Discipline of Silence = Absence of speech (silence of mouth) + act of listening (silence of heart).
“When you pray”, asked Rather, “what do you say to God?”
“I don’t say anything,” she replied. “I listen.”
Rather tried another tack. “Well, okay… when God speaks to you, then, what does He say?”
“He doesn’t say anything. He listens.”
Rather looked bewildered. For an instant, he didn’t know what to say.
“And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”*
Silence has a wife, it called solitude. They must come together. Seeking out of solitary places should be our regular practice. The reason for solitude is not in order to be away from people but in order to hear the divine Whisper better. I love being with people, but not all the time. I love be in the crowd, but not all the time.
In solitude I can ‘recharge my battery’ with God’s inexhaustible supply. In solitude, God can make clear our perspective of who we are and what He’s called us to do. Throughout the gospels, even in such a busy day of ministry, Jesus always went to a solitary place all by Himself. Charles R. Swindoll raised a very good question for us when he writes,
“If Jesus Himself refused to rush on, if Jesus took time to be alone, if Jesus pulled His men away for times of solitude way back then, why do we think it’s any less important for us to do the same today?”
Silence and solitude…
In our modern day of living, sometime it’s hard for us to be silence for a period of time and to be alone in solitude. We have no time to listen to God and always busy 24-7. We feel awkward when nobody is around, thus, we are fear being alone. Please don’t be, take time in silence and solitude. Make it your priority. Let the Holy Spirit bring peace to you in that quiet aloneness. Know the God that you worship. Know who you are.
Some steps that you may want to practice:
· Take advantage of the ‘little solitudes’ that fill our day
Example, wake up early morning while everyone is still sleeping, while taking shower, walk to office, staring at the night sky etc.
· Find or develop a ‘quiet place’ designed for silence and solitude.
In your own room, toilet, library, church area, garden etc.
· Try to live one entire day without words at all or take a retreat once a year with no other purpose in mind but solitude.
Devoted the time for silence prayer, open the Word of God and sit in quietness before Him.
· Keep a journal Just write anything comes to mind.
‘The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.’ (Mark 6:30-32)
1. *So, you want to be like Christ?: Eight essentials to get you there. By Charles R. Swindoll.
2. Celebration of Discipline: The path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster.
3. A treasure of Christian Wisdom by Tony Castle