One of my favorite songs from the 80’s is by the band Depeche mode.
A short but profound line in the song (which is about relationships) is “Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm.”
Just the other day that song came on the radio as I was in a pensive and reflective mood.
I realized that often we use words unnecessarily when silence is the appropriate response.
This can be true in a relationship with friend, significant other, spouse, but equally true with God
People do not enjoy silence or sometimes are scared of it because it forces self-reflection.
We are intentional about how busy our lives are, and clutter our minds with distractions. We seldom are as intentional about honing in on the silence around us and finding peace in the midst of uncertainty.
I find we speak just to have something to say…although we really have nothing to say.
Think of the familiar story of Jesus’ transfiguration found in Luke 9
28 “About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure,[a] which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.”
This was a holy and divine moment when words could not do justice.
Yet, good ole’ Peter opened his mouth because he apparently felt the need to say something. It is quite funny to see Luke’s reaction Peter’s babble and his statement that Peter really did not know what he was saying.
Interesting as well is the disciples’ more mature response after the encounter in pondering the moment and not telling everyone (at least for awhile)
In many ways these past few months for me have been a time of silence.
Any of you who take time to read my blog (which I sincerely thank you) have noticed by absence and silence from writing. This has been intentional in many regards.
I write as a reflection of my life and experiences.
That was how this blog came into existence: A simple desire to journal and express, in a written way, my personal thoughts, struggles, dreams, ideas and experiences in faith and youth ministry.
I write out of who I am, not so much what or whom I feel I need to be in the eyes of others.
I do not have a schedule of writings, deadline, a quote to hit of views or subscribers.
I write for myself and hope in some small way to help others in the process.
My silence reflects my life as I have been deep in a time of reflection, prayer, discernment, and quite honestly confusion.
While I have been fully engaged in the life of our students and youth ministry, much time and effort has been put into conversations with friends and family, seeking God, attempting to seek answers, and in being still and silent.
In other ways, the silence has been a mirror of my own journey with God and attempting to make sense of the silence I perceive coming from him. Often when I have questions, I need, want, and expect God to answer in my own timing (and usually with the answers I want). I have come to realize the depth of trusting in his silence and viewing it not as abandonment, but rather as moments and seasons for maturity of faith.
How do we respond when God is silent? What if we are asking him for good things? What if we are actively seeking his direction and guidance?
Students ask me these exact questions throughout the years often in regards to college decisions, family matters, relationships, and issues of faith. Although well-intentioned, my answers have probably been a bit cliché. Sure statements such as ” God is always at work even when you don’t hear him or feel his presence” is correct, but cannot be true for someone until they have gone through it themselves.
I am grateful for a period of silence in my life as it has forced me to really seek God and not just his answers or blessings.
My silence from writing has been helpful as well, providing me time to read and process others’ writings and the world around me just a bit more.
Though I cannot truthfully say I have “enjoyed the silence”, I am realizing the necessity and beauty of it during this season in my life.
I feel somewhat ready to break the silence at this point and continue to share my journeys and thoughts.
It may be cathartic to some degree but nonetheless helpful for me to process and perhaps helpful for someone else.
I am excited for the journey and what lies ahead and hope to be a sounding board for others who have gone through, or are currently, experiencing a season of uncertainty and silence. With God’s help and divine grace you can learn to accept, embrace, engage and perhaps enjoy it.