Silence and God’s Presence
One night at supper, we were discussing the phone addiction that has descended on many people today. My grandson, a young businessman said, “It’s hard to find workers today who won’t slip around every available corner, stop work and text on their phone.”
We are addicted, not just to our phones that are always with us, but to distractions of all kinds. Our almost natural response to living is to jump from one thing to another. In restaurants and bars, the tv screens are often split showing four or more things: local news, world news, traffic and weather reports all at the same time, so our eyes can flit back and forth, just as we flip between channels on our TV remote at home.
Our busy lives leave no space for silence and just being. Even those who can afford to rent or own cottages too often take their distractions with them. When everything does happen to stop, we reach out for our phones to fill the gap. Silence feels alien, almost frightening.
We pray on the run: God help me find a parking space. God keep us safe on the road today. God, please help me do well on this exam. I’m sure Jesus also prayed on the run. I can imagine him praying: God help me with this crowd. God what do I say to these critical Sadducees?
Our Bible also tells us, Jesus went off by himself to pray. Even busy Jesus came to a full stop. He sought out time apart in prayer.
The discipline of intentional prayer requires an alternative way of living. In this alternative lifestyle we want to seek out a few moments of silence to wait on God, to just sit and listen. Some of us have learned to listen to nature. With practice we have learned to sit in silence by a rustling brook and marvel at the sound, the beauty, the life that stirs around us in creation.
Listening for God requires the same kind of practice. Try ten minutes, first thing in the morning, or right after lunch or supper, or just before you go to bed. Try ten minutes by yourself: no phone, no technology. Sit in silence. Let thanksgiving for one thing rest in your mind and heart. As your mind scatters to many things, keep drawing it back to that one thing for which you are thankful. Feel the peace of God’s Spirit descend around you. God’s Spirit will come. You may not recognize the spirit at first but keep up the practice. Just ten intentional minutes for God each day. Be assured, God’s Spirit is waiting for any crack in your wall of busyness. God’s peace will come.