The last couple of weeks, a theme that I’ve been running across in my devotional time has been the need to be quiet after praying in order to actually make room for God to speak to us.
To me, theoretically, this made sense.
I mean, in no other conversation in my life do I speak incessantly for a couple minutes then turn around and jet off to do something else.
Every other relationship requires a steady back and forth of ideas, thoughts, hopes, and fears. Only in my relationship with God do I find myself constantly bombarding him with a laundry list of requests, questions, emotional status updates, and then turning on a podcast and wondering why he remains silent.
This week I got the opportunity to travel away from home and my normal routines for a work trip.
Because of the different age groups in the line of work, I found some of the conference to be somewhat isolating. Even worse was when I got back to my lodgings. I found that nothing greeted me at my abode but the sound of a ticking mechanical clock that hung over the double doors to my bedroom.
I can literally hear the seconds march by.
This silence filled me with unease at first. It felt unnatural.
Initially, I tried to fill it with social media. That worked for a while. Eventually even the infinite scroll of beautiful places and faces was not novel enough to distract me.
Then I tried Netflix. I made it through a season of an intriguing show or two before I felt boredom and an unsettledness invade my streaming habit.
Eventually I hit the wrong button on the remote and seemingly nixed the TV’s internet connection. My friends were already in bed in a different time zone. The coffee from the conference lingered in my bloodstream, keeping me alert as I watched the minute hand sweep the roman numerals on the clock face.
I was left alone, awake, and in silence.
Somewhere in this process I realized that I was not just trying to entertain myself – I was also avoiding, not just silence, but stillness.
I finally capitulated. I pushed my phone away from me. Turned off the television and I laid in the bed and allowed my mind space and time to hear from God.
Discomfort with stillness became more comfortable.
Soon, thoughts bubbled up from somewhere deep inside and led me to tackle and complete a sermon topic that had laid unfinished for longer than I was comfortable with. Even more important than finishing this project was the comfort in knowing that God had been waiting to talk to me.
It was comforting knowing that although He wouldn’t yell above the noise He would always find a way to whisper into the void in my heart. A God-shaped space that is always yearning for something more fulfilling than the newest Netflix original series.
The previous weeks, I had been praying for God to speak to me. Little did I know that He had been speaking to me the whole time. He had probably been praying for me to be quiet enough to hear him. I’m grateful that He forced me to slow down and be quiet, and yes, be uncomfortable until I could discover Him.
I still have some time before the din and noise of regular life resumes.
I’m hoping that I can make the most of the quiet by not making the most of every moment.
Fly or Fall,