Monday, 4 February 2013

Heavenly Silence

"He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed" (Psalm 107: 29)

A wild storm brought the day to a climatic end. Our Border Collie paces and growls nervously and I do the same, though fortunately without growling. We hold our breaths as it lashes about our cabin, gutters gushing and overflowing under the deluge. The earth cannot soak it all up fast enough and rivulets trickle and then surge as they grow into small rivers. Exposed to the elements we are humbled and awed by the sheer majesty of it all. At times like these, hugging my boys and stroking the dog's head while cooing to the cat under the couch, I feel small. How wonderful it must be to just crawl into someone's lap when threats loom large.

The storm passes and all is intact. Throughout the night there is still a gentle dripping at the edge of my consciousness. The morning reveals all the deck furniture huddled in one corner, blown there in a ghostly parade of empty chairs. The smell of damp forest hangs in the air and the fury of the storm seems an eternity away.

This is how I feel when God pours out his grace over us. In the midst of the storm, I can be so unaware of it, my only focus the immediate threat at my door. Then all at once I become aware of the voice that says: I am here. Hearing only the noise that appears so deafening at the time, I forget to listen. To really listen.

Silence is a rare commodity in our home. With two exuberant toddlers it is savoured like the last delectable truffle in the box. I am learning to shut out the noise at times, to hear what the voice of the Holy Spirit wants to say to me. As I'm writing, bits of an unfinished mega block castle pile up beside my keyboard. Electronic tunes and animal sounds blare out of a toy-laptop and a frisbee skims the back of my head. My hope is that I may not only receive unlimited patience, but also the ability to take "selective hearing" to a new level.

At times I feel that God is silent. I sit, my fingers poised over the keys, nothing... I felt so sure that there was a message inside me when I prayed, made notes, looked up scriptures. But each time as I start typing, the "noise" and distractions seem to will me away from what seemed so clear in the morning silence. Why?

"Its obvious", you may think. No-one can concentrate with so much going on around you. But, God is almighty, if the message is from him, there is always a way. The only one who would not want me to continue is Satan, and I need only resist him and he will flee from me. (James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you). The amount of "noise" and fear he creates in our lives is often both deafening and debilitating. But it needn't be. The name of Jesus alone is enough to send him scurrying away. It reverberates with the victory that is also ours if he is truly the master of our hearts.

Yes, silence does exist when storms rage, toddlers brim over with "joy de vie" and personal challenges and attacks threaten. Knowing my Saviour helps me to rise above all of these and enter into His silence. A place of peace that is beyond reason, beyond the mess and brokenness of our temporary home here on earth. In this silence He may also be silent, but He is always there.

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