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  • Writer's pictureMyles Hester

Silence & Stillness

Do you ever feel like the world is too loud? We live in a world where there is noise everywhere all the time. I am a big culprit in this regard: even now, I just sat down to write in a coffee shop so I could focus better…my office was too quiet! Ironic, right? It is commonplace to go to a restaurant where beyond kitchen noise and conversation, there is music playing in the background and a TV on every wall! Even in our homes, the TV is on, or music is playing, or we are watching videos on our phones, or there is some other sort of noise. However, even in our world full of podcasts, streaming services, and constant background music, sometimes we may find ourselves feeling like the Grinch in the 1966 cartoon Christmas special, “that’s the one thing I hate: all the noise, noise, noise!” At any given moment, it can feel like we either can’t stand the noise or can’t stand the silence!


When I was in high school, I went to a summer camp where we would have Bible studies under the stars. There was a large field where all of us campers would lay down for about an hour or so one night, looking up at the sky full of stars, while one of the counselors talked to us about the glory of God. It was incredible to be out in the middle of nowhere with no Wi-Fi connection, no phones, looking up at just how many stars there are and just how big the sky is, thinking about how vast God’s creation is. One of the essential points that was always made during these studies was that we needed to take time to spend alone with God, meditating on His glory and majesty. These counselors knew the importance both for the teenagers under their supervision and for them as adults to take time alone with God, reveling in the silence and stillness that is increasingly difficult to find.


The Bible encourages this idea as well. One commonly quoted scripture in this regard is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” What’s ironic is that in context, Psalm 46 is referring to a rebellion that takes place in Numbers 16 where a man named Korah and his family rebel against Moses, who God made leader of the nation of Israel. When we think of stillness and quiet, we probable do not think of an uprising! However, the point being made here is this: in times of strife and conflict, it is all the more important to “be still” and remember who our God is. As human beings who like to think we are in control and manufacture solutions to situations we sometimes have minimal (if any) control over, but sometimes we just need to pause, take a deep breath, and remember who God is. In other words, we need to slow down and remind ourselves that even when things are out of our control, God IS in control!


This thought is also found in Exodus 14, when Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt across the Red Sea. Think back to the plagues: the Israelites really did not have to do anything at all to get out of Egypt! They just had to pack up and leave! All of the plagues were done by God to exert His authority and power over Pharaoh and the Egyptian army; a battle which culminates in the drowning of the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea as they pursue the nation of Israel. Despite what they had just seen through the plagues, the Israelites become hysterical and hopeless when they Pharaoh’s army chasing after them. When confronted with their distress, Moses reminds them, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (vss. 13-14).


What the Israelites had forgotten in their short time away from the Egyptians was that God had been in control the whole time! If He had defeated Pharaoh through the plagues, He certainly could and would do it again.


Picturing what happens here with Moses’ rebuke of the Israelites makes me consider situations in my life where I need to be “silent.” What battles am I trying to fight that God has already won? What habits or mindsets do I find myself stubbornly trying to go back to that God has rescued me from? In what ways am I being rebellious and need to quiet down and remember God’s glory?


This week, find a quiet place. Go on a walk, sit by yourself in your room with no background music, no interruptions, no noise. In that quiet, pray to God. Tell Him what you are worried about, what you are struggling with, and what you are thankful for. Sit in the silence and the stillness and remember who He is and what He has done. All you have to do is be quiet.

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