In defense of silence

I started to write this post halfway through the quarantine, when coronavirus and all of its fears were flooding my newsfeed. The world felt loud then, and I was longing for quiet. Now, while the world reels after the loss of an innocent life, the volume has increased, and with it, unease and tension. Although there is also a lot of productive dialogue, I am here to defend silence. Not as the end goal, but as the starting point from which I believe all  Christians should begin when confronting great evils or injustices.

My first thought is Jesus. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, on the night of His betrayal, praying in solitude about the cup He had been given. I can only imagine the suffering He faced, knowing what must be done, His spirit willing, but in the weakness of His flesh, begging that the cup be taken from Him. He ends his prayer in Mark 26:39 with “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Christ, facing the weight of humanity’s sin, kneeled before the Father and prayed. 

Time with God is the first place we should begin, with any trial we face. Even with our joys, God’s name should be first on our lips, lifting up thankfulness. How much more, then, should we prioritize listening to our Heavenly Father when the world is thrown into turmoil by tragedy and loss? 

I am not advocating procrastination. There is a healthy balance to be struck when we know something must be said. So here are some reasons I believe silent prayer as a first step can truly help:

1. Silent time with God helps us be better listeners. You might spend time with God and realize He is not calling you to speak, but to listen. To hear those who are hurting, to go to Him again and again with what is on your heart, and to heed His call when He reveals to you how you must act. Perhaps He will call you to a ministry you never considered. Perhaps listening to someone lets you see a need you might otherwise have overlooked. 

2. Silent time with God turns our focus inward and helps him point out where sin has taken hold in our hearts. From there, healing can take place. Healing gives you a testimony that can be shared with others who might need to hear it. 

3. Silent time with God helps by reminding us daily of what God has done and what He is doing. It builds trust to see where God has answered your prayers, and hope for the future to know He is working in all things.

4. Silent time with God prepares us to speak. If you spend time in the word, and time in prayer DAILY, then when you need to speak you can be more confident that you are speaking out truth and wisdom. It will be easier to recognize the call God places on your heart when He compels you to speak out against hatred and violence. Your response time will be quicker, because you have put in the time to know God on a deeper level, and are more practiced in listening to what He says. 

As Christians, we are called to live in accordance with God’s will. We are called to love others, to speak truth, and to share hope with the world. If we are not putting in the time to dwell in His presence, we are missing an opportunity for our actions to be enriched by His perfect wisdom. Silent time with our Creator can only make our voices more powerful. Just as Jesus cried out to God in the garden of Gethsemane, so should we cry out to God first. Because it is not our will, but the Father’s, that we are created to carry out. If we are to speak the truth in love, then let us dwell in His love all our days. 


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