The Art of Silence

Mark 9:5-7 “And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

God gave us two ears and one mouth – use them in the proportion they were given. Words my mother used to say to me ring true even today. God’s Word tells us:

James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”

These few thoughts came to mind as I tried to envision Peter there on the mount of transfiguration. He was part of the inner circle that Jesus had drawn to himself. Peter, James and John were drawn aside with Him often. They were privy to some elite moments in the life of Jesus. His transfiguration before them was one.

But as I read today, I thought on that statement; “For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.”

He didn’t know what to say – yet he opened his mouth just the same. As I read further, the Father comes on the scene and I picture Him reaching out and closing Peter’s lips and says:

This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

Or, this is not a time for you to talk, it is time to listen. The discernment needed to choose the time to speak and the time to listen comes with experience or trial and error. There are those who speaking is their first response – and find the taste of shoe leather because they wind up putting their foot in their mouth at some point in time. Then there are those who remain silent when they should speak up.

As God has matured me, I have learned a little about this art of being quiet. He says in His Word:

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

So, what happens in that stillness; in the quiet moments when God draws us up close to Himself? Peter opened his mouth because he was afraid. Some of us cannot bear the quiet. We get home alone and we turn on music or the television for background noise. But what of the time when we pray? There are some who are babblers. They just keep talking and talking not stopping to take a breath – for fear if they do, God might just say something!

When I began to understand that prayer was not running through my laundry list of things for God to do, but desiring a conversation with His child, my time with Him took on a whole new perspective.

Being quiet is not just the outside, but being quiet in our heart and mind  as well. Can you be alone with your thoughts? I counsel some whose thought life needs cleansing, control and direction. The ability to be quiet on the inside comes only with help from God. Worry, doubt and fear press us and pressure us and demand attention.

If we do not deal with them properly, they will draw us away from the Source of peace and quiet in our lives. Psalm 23 should be our guide for us to learn to be silent.

When our needs are not met, we come to God and wonder why. He says:

Psalm 23:1 “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I have nothing to ask regarding my needs because He promises that they will be supplied.

Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

I have realized that I cannot maintain the intensity my job requires without some ‘down’ time. The same goes for every aspect of my life. All of my relationships, all of my roles and responsibilities can press and pressure me, but I must be aware that I can only handle them best when I am at my best – and that includes having some quiet time.

God draws me away to Himself to strengthen me; to refresh my soul and to energize me for what I will have to face down the road. And since I cannot see down that road as far as my Father can, I need that quiet time to hear just what He has for me.

It might be that He has a part of His character to reveal to me that will bolster my faith when it is tried.

It might be a promise in His Word that he presses my heart to memorize for a time when it will be needed.

It might be basking in His presence to confirm the reality that I truly am His child.

Whatever that silence has for you and me, we cannot fear it, or push it away. Don’t talk your way through it till God leaves you alone. Don’t try to drown it out by allowing the world’s noise to deafen our ears from hearing His voice. Silence is not only ‘golden’, but so desperately needed in our lives.

Peter seemingly missed the enormity of the moment to which he was privy. Let us all learn to embrace those silent times in our life as the moment when our Heavenly Father speaks directly to our hearts, our needs, our wants and our desires.

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