Ever been to a wedding and there's that really awkward silence in the middle of a speech? (Were we meant to cry, laugh or clap...) Or a concert when a sound issue occurs and the whole stadium is in silence for that moment too long?
Whatever it is, silence often isn't received well in our fast paced, constantly available, noisy, social media-advertising driven society.
We all have the ability to sit anywhere we are with some sort of sound, image or distraction to take up our attention. Whether it is sitting on a plane some 30 000 ft above sea level, Catching a train into work in peak hour or even going to sleep at night when to do lists, YouTube clips and Instagram scrolling goes on for far too long.
We often have so many communication methods available to us at any given moment that we find ourselves lost when we forget our phone or it's out of battery. Kind of relieving to have a moment to ourselves and moment to think.
Is being busy, productive on the go bad? Not by itself, not at all.
Can it be detrimental to our own spiritual growth if its constant? Certainly.
This is why I have recently been challenged about the amount of time I give myself to sit and wait. Not read (although that's great), exercise (although that's important for your physical health), but literally be still before the Lord and let him have space in my world – and not just for an allocated slot according to my schedule.
In Psalm 27, David is crying out to God that he would ask one thing, and one thing only (verse 4): "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple"...and then goes on to say (verse 14) "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord".
In Psalm 37 verse 7, David reiterates this (and on multiple other accounts throughout the Psalms) as he says: "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their way, when they carry out their wicked schemes."
I recently heard it be said that waiting upon the Lord can feel like waiting for a plane to board. You've checked in, gone through immigration, lined up for probably a few hours and are now sitting at your gate waiting for your flight.
Then you get tired of waiting, and you leave to go do something else to come back and get your flight later – seems a bit silly, doesn't it? Wasted effort.
We too can be like this if we're not willing to wait and sit at the feet of Jesus and be silent to what he wants. I know for me personally, this has been a journey (that I am still learning if I am honest) to quieten my spirit, still my speech and let God do the revealing. Much like this story, if you leave elsewhere – you will miss your flight (even if it is delayed, because you left) and indeed take a lot longer to catch that flight one day when you decide to wait.
Throughout the Bible there are many accounts where everyone from Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jeremiah, Amos, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, David to even Jesus himself had to wait. Remove themselves from all the distractions that life threw at them to purpose in their heart that they would wait upon the Lord. Whatever
Before Jesus was crucified in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26 verse 36 – 45, he retreated himself away from his disciples (Note, even those closest to him could not fill the void that only God could in this moment) and cried out to God. Away from crowds, his work, the people around him – no distractions.
In Isaiah 40 verse 31 (KJV) it says "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
At the end of 2014, I myself have been challenged to use this season of festivities, holidays and sunshine to learn to wait. To not run to the next appointment, but allow/ create space in my day to silence that which takes up my attention, to be given to God.
I had to answer the following questions honestly and pray you can do the same
"Who or what has my attention?" "How often do I allow myself to be disconnected from social media, SMS and phone calls?" "How do I handle silence?"
Merry Christmas and Happy New year!
Meenal Chandra is a Sydney based writer who understands a love worth giving.
Meenal Chandra's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html