In the Quiet

July 11th, 2012

I was recently sitting at a local restaurant, reading a book and having a cup of hot tea. As I sat there, I started looking around me.

At the table behind me were two gentlemen on a conference call over a cell phone (and the speaker phone was on!). Across the room a man was complaining about how his new cell phone  did not yet have his phone book set up, and he was having to still use his other cell phone. At another table, four people were meeting, each with their own laptop open and typing away. At yet another table, a child was playing on her Game Boy, while the adults at her table were talking to each other.

I thought of my first cell phone, the size of a brick, in comparison with the, quite small, camera phone I have now, on which people can reach me day or night. I think about how I had to type my term papers in high school on a real typewriter.

Today it is assumed that everyone has a computer at home, and kids learn “keyboarding” (not “typing”) in early elementary school. Modern technologies are amazing, and I’m not condemning them. Hey! I admit that I had a digital camera and an iPod on my Christmas list. I submit this writing via e-mail, and I’m the worst about keeping the television on as background noise.

Yet, something profound struck me in that restaurant. Yes, it was a public place, and I never went there expecting silence. However, I could not get past the “noise” that was surrounding me—that surrounds me on a daily basis.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah was whining to God about his state of affairs. God told him to go stand by the mountain. As Elijah waited for the Lord, a strong wind tore through the mountains. “But the Lord wasn’t in the wind.” Then there was an earthquake. “But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake.” Then there was a fire. “But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. After the fire, there was a sound. Thin. Quiet.” It was then that Elijah prepared to hear God speak. It was then that Elijah heard God’s voice.

I forget just how much I enjoy silence. It is in the silence that I can filter out all the “noise” of this world and get back to who I am—back to who God calls me to be. It is in the silence that I can not only hear myself think, but also simply listen. It is in the silence, and the stillness, where I find God.

The noise helps me to avoid. In the silence I find peace and a quiet soul. Why, then, do I so often avoid silence?

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