Tell me if  this has ever happened to you.  You get out your Bible, your journal, and a cup of coffee, anticipating a deep and meaningful time with God.  You find your chosen place to read, quiet your mind, and begin.  The verses move past, but nothing earth-shattering jumps out.  You re-read what you just read.  Still nothing meaningful.

“OK God,” you think, “I’m finished reading now.  I’ve even read everything twice.  Time for you to speak to me… One, two, three go…” And still nothing.

This is where I am as I write this.  My Bible and journal are open beside my computer.  I’ve been at this for almost 30 minutes.  My journal page is empty, and I haven’t heard a word from God.  Is He mad at me?  Is this some kind of test?  Am I missing something?

Well, let’s go through the checklist.  Have I done something that would prevent me from hearing from God?  Not that I know of.  Have I rushed through my reading or praying?  Maybe, but I tried not to.  Is God making some kind of point?  I honestly don’t know the answer to that one.  All I know is I tried to listen and He didn’t say anything.

As I have gotten to know God better, I’ve learned that every day doesn’t bring a life-changing revelation.  Come to think about it, God has never seemed to be a conversationalist.  He speaks when He has something to say.  When He speaks, it’s important and memorable.  But sometimes, He doesn’t speak.

I can’t explain why God sometimes chooses not to speak.  But I know this: although God doesn’t speak to me every day, He hears me every day.  I might not have heard something definitive from Him, but He has heard everything I’ve said or thought, and there isn’t a single detail of my life or my circumstances that have escaped His attention.

If you’ve taken the time to read, pray, and listen to God but haven’t heard anything, don’t worry or don’t get discouraged.  He’s right there.  He see you, He hears you, and He’s on the job.  You haven’t wasted your time.

Silence Really Is Golden

I admit it.  I’m a news junkie.  I keep up with politics, news, current thought, and baseball scores.  Whenever I have a spare moment and an internet connection, I like  to check Twitter and a couple of favorite news sites to see if anything new has happened in the last 15 minutes.

Then last week, I attended the Orange Conference in Atlanta.  I was up before 7AM and out the door to the sessions, busy through the day, rushed through dinner, and back to my room after 11PM.  There was no time for catching up on the news.

Now that I’m back home and in my routine, I’ve noticed a startling truth about last week.  In the absence of 24/7 access to news and politics, my outlook, my mood, and my sense of inner peace was noticeably improved.  Without realizing it at the time, my spirit was being refreshed by the absence of the drip, drip, drip of internet input.  I was experiencing the golden effect of silence.

The value of silence is under appreciated in our culture today.  In our quest to be connected and relevant, we’ve given up the valuable process of reflecting on the events of our lives.  Unless we take the time to look back on the events of our days, important thoughts or events or words will slip into the rubbish bin of our memories, becoming just another random event in the daily grind.

This truth has important implications in our spiritual lives, too.  I can’t think of a single time that I sensed God speaking or leading outside the context of quiet reflection.  Noise and distraction only serve to confound, to confuse, and to muffle the quiet leading of the Holy Spirit.  I’ve never known God to compete with the pace or volume of my world.

As I review my notes from the conference in order to absorb them, I’m finding I’ve learned a valuable truth that the keynote speakers didn’t teach.  My soul needs regular intervals of silence.  The world didn’t end because I wasn’t connected to the web, which suggests I can turn off my phone without fear of provoking the Apocalypse.  Granted, I might miss the latest headline or the most recent polling numbers, but I might also hear God speaking to me.