What happens when you scramble the word silent? You get, listen. Interesting. How can anyone listen without first being silent?
Whenever I hiked trails in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina, or in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, nature had a way of commanding an eerie kind of quietness. Reverence.
From All That is Made, authors Geoff Gentry and Bryan Ye-Chung contribute, “It is hard to live on the Earth in the 21st century and not be painfully aware that life is full of noise. We bounce from notifications, to social media timelines, to advertisements, to endless entertainment options. Most of us love it. Conversation is constant. We live distracted lives, turning our days into content that we fire into the world at an alarming rate. This hurried and marginless living is undergirded by the anxiety of always being “on.”
Yeah, if we don’t hit the “off” switch we will shut down. A great place to get away from the noise of life is the great outdoors. I love hiking, but a drawback to carrying a heavy backpack for a few days is the tendency to focus on the load, instead of appreciating the grandeur of Creation. Once the backpack comes off, I’m able to see things more clearly.
What makes the backpacks we carry in life so emotionally draining? Inside a backpack are different compartments. Yours might include a side pocket of anxiety while others have zippered sections called habitual sins. Maybe you keep the doubts section snapped shut. There’s the suffering and trials pouch that won’t stay closed because a new problem keeps sticking out. The lower compartment in your backpack carries the weight of everything else. Yours may have holes in it. In that section, you might have stretched the contents of bitterness to the max, and it leaks out into every part of your life. Maybe it’s time to drop your backpack and unpack it.
Gentry and Ye-Chung go a step further, “In silence, our soul is quieted. Our burdens-the things we carry, can rise to the surface. Our pain and suffering can be named. Our chaos can be calmed. Our lives can settle in the presence of God’s Spirit. Silence is for calming, for emptying out, for letting go. In silence, we allow Jesus to do his work.”
Part of His work is speaking to us, but we need to listen to what Elijah referred to as God’s still small voice. We need to hear from Him because the journey of life is lonely at times. Your journey is solitary because it is unique to you.
You may hear God’s still small voice as you read a passage of scripture. You may hear it as you take a walk around your neighborhood. You may hear it when you get alone to pray.
Peter must have unpacked his load a time a two. May his words encourage you. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (I Peter 5:7, NLT)
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”