a day of silence and solitude
As I write, I am surrounded in a beautiful setting – a beautifully decorated, cozy room plopped in the center of the Alumni center of Columbia International University, the college that brought Kevin and I together and that fired our love for the Lord. All around me are colorful hues of deep reds, bright oranges and golden yellows – leaves that scream the glory of God. And, perhaps the most striking thing to me as I sit here is the silence.
My life isn’t marked with much silence this blessed season in my life. Instead it’s filled with the noisy squeals of little girls, the humming of washing machines and dishwashers, the sounds of the city bustling around me, ringing phones, whistling of the teapot, the crinkling of pages turning in school books, and babblings of a sweet baby. Sometimes the “noise”, as beautiful as it is, is a natural distraction from the silence that we desperately need in our lives. The solitude. There is something about that word that breathes peace and calm. And the more years I live and walk with Jesus, the more I’m realizing the importance of withdrawing to a place of stillness where I can focus on listening and sitting at His feet.
Today is one of these days. I’m away from my seemingly “small”, busy world with no little ones tugging at my skirt, but only my Bible, my journal, some good books and an open heart. Pastor John Piper helps us to see the importance of silence and solitude in looking at the life of Zechariah,
If we don’t seek out silence, we will probably not feel the stupendous significance of God’s work in history on our lives. It would be a rare thing to be gripped and moved deeply in a noisy room. There is a close correlation between stillness and a sense of the stupendous. The most astonishing things about reality will probably be missed by those who use the radio and TV for a constant background drone. Be still, be dumb and deaf, and know that I am God. What would it mean for your life if for nine months you could not hear or say anything! I have tried to imagine what it would mean for my ministry and home life. No preaching. No counseling. No singing. But lots more seeing. Lots more looking into the eyes of my wife and sons. (When was the last time you looked steadily into someone’s eyes?) Lots more reading the great books. Lots more writing journals, poems, letters, thoughts about life. Lots more prayer and meditation on the Word of God. All in absolute silence. If God should ever give me such a period, I hope that I would turn it to as much good as Zechariah did. Because when Zechariah came out, he came out filled with the Holy Spirit and singing what has come to be known as the Benedictus, a song filled with insight and with a sense of the stupendous significance of what was about to happen with the birth of Jesus. So while we ponder now how we will seek some silence for ourselves, let us learn from what the Holy Spirit taught Zechariah.
Join me today, if you will, as I embark on a journey of silence and solitude and journal about it in the process. May you find the grace and the means to one day etch out these times in your busy lives as well…