Silence-A Tool of Worship
It’s a flaw in my physical make-up that I have no control over. I can go to bed convincing myself that I will not snore or wear those silly little nostril expanders and my wife Gayle still pokes me in the side in the middle of the night.
I’ve been a part of a North American committee for my denomination and have been at meetings in different parts of Canada and the United States together with 15 other committee members. When it comes time to divvy up hotel rooms, I always get put together with the other two or three snorers! To make things worse, they all seem to be able to fall asleep the moment their heads hit the pillow. Now, Gayle would tell you that I have been known to have that same trait, but when it is absolutely necessary for me to fall asleep before others (as in the case with my two or three snoring roommates), I can’t seem to do it!
But I found these neat silicone putty earplugs which effectively shut out a majority of the disturbing cacophony. Silence . . . I can fall asleep. So now I always travel with my earplugs – in planes, hotels, peoples’homes. And if others can’t sleep because of my snoring? Let them get their own earplugs!
We live in a noisy world. From the time the radio alarm clock wakes us up, to the conclusion of the network newscast, our lives are filled with sound. On our way to work or to pick up groceries we listen to the radio, tape, or CD. While in high school, our oldest son Chris claimed that he couldn’t really concentrate on his studies unless he was in front of the TV or was listening to music. Things have changed since I had high school homework! Even at night – while our three grown children were still living at home – Gayle and I would often go to bed with ‘trance’, ‘breakbeat’ and ‘house’ music emanating through our bedroom walls from our oldest son’s computer music compositions.
In our modern, noisy world we’re not used to silence at any time. A couple of years ago we went back to the farm for a vacation and had a hard time going to sleep because it was so quiet! We finally borrowed my brother-in-law’s fan so that we could at least have some ‘white noise’ just so we could fall asleep!
Yet the noise is more than just a product of our technological and machine orientated society. Noise helps take away the pain and discomfort of silence. We want to fill up the silence with sound or activity. We are so used to noise that we have to have background noise. When we are alone at home, we turn on the TV or radio – even if we’re not watching or listening – just to fill the house with sound.
Silence scares us. It doesn’t seem natural. Sometimes I wonder if we are so afraid of what we might hear in the silence that we refuse to allow it. Or perhaps we are afraid that we will hear nothing at all.
The Psalmist says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The suggestion is that we must pause in our very busy, very noisy lives so that we can hear God.
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