Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rhythms of Life: Silence

There are natural rhythms to life.

In fact, an often quoted scripture from Ecclesiastes points to this phenomena:

For everything there is a season, and a time
for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and  a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time  to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
One thing I missed until recently in these rhythms of life is the necessity of both ups and downs. I anticipate things such as planting, healing, building up, laughing, and dancing. These are good things, they bring happiness to the soul.

Yet for each of these aspects its opposite exists as well: breaking down, weeping, mourning, tearing. Then there are the three I really struggle with accepting: killing, hate, and war. None of these things are pleasant, and rather than embracing them as aspects of life that come in seasons, my solution is to attempt to compartmentalize them and tightly micromanage them into non-existence.

Recently, I have experienced a lot of silence from God. As a person who prefers to hear directly from the Father on a consistent basis, I struggled with the silence. First of all, it landed at the close of my senior year of college, a point where I expected God to be incredibly close. Yet most of what I had was silence.

Deafening silence.

God was speaking into the lives of many of my friends, why not me?

I went on a frenzy of trying to figure out if it was some part of my life causing God's silence. One month of quiet times I spent in stillness, hoping that the remedy to the silence was to "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth," (Psalm 46:10).

My normal mode of quiet times is to write out my prayers, because handwriting things helps me to maintain focus, rather than the random course of distracted tangents I encounter when I pray in silence. So I tried going back to just saying simple prayers, and still more silence.

Then something profound happened, a God moment to use Christian lingo. I began to recognize and relate to biblical characters who experienced deafening silence. The Psalms where people cry out to God for His presence or His voice came alive to me. I identified with chunks of the Bible that previously had felt elusive in their content.

Do  I want to hear more regularly from God again? Absolutely. Am I learning to rejoice in all circumstances? Most definitely. Would I trade this season of silence, as trying as it has been? No, because God has continued to use it for His glory and to bring me to a deeper understanding of scripture.

What rhythm of life do you struggle with, how can you learn to look for God in the place you are at now? My prayer is that whatever season you find yourself in, You will continue to seek after the Lord and learn to understand His wisdom and teaching in every rhythm of life.

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