The Challenge of Solitude
Recently, I was challenged to spend time in solitude–15 minutes in complete silence listening for God’s voice. Not praying, not reading the Bible, not listening to worship music. I was supposed to sit and be quite.
Let me just say this: it was not easy.
My mind wanted to wander. I felt like I should be praying. But the goal was to be silent in order to hear God.
I’m not a very silent person. Even though I work from home and don’t interact with people for large portions of the day, I still talk to my dogs, listen to podcasts, or sing to myself while I work. Sitting in silence isn’t something I do often… okay ever.
I decided to give the solitude challenge a try. Early one morning, after David left for work, I sat down on the couch and asked God two things. “One: please keep me from falling asleep, and two: please keep my mind from wandering. I’ll assume whatever comes to mind is from You.”
Then, I shut up.
The Loud Silence
The first thing I noticed was that our house wasn’t quiet. I could hear the buzzing of the refrigerator in the kitchen. There was air blowing up through the registers on the floor. The washing machine was whirring in the basement.
When I wasn’t making sound, the house was actually quite loud. It made me wonder, if I miss all of these sounds on a regular basis, how often do I miss hearing God’s voice?
At one point during my time of solitude, everything became eerily quiet. The refrigerator was silent, the heat kicked off, and the washing machine finished its cycle. Then, I was introduced to the actual silence.
You know what I realized? Even the silence has a sound to it.
As my ears tuned into the silence, I noticed a distinct, high-pitched sound. I focused on that sound, and it became louder. I began to think of the sound as “the humming of the universe.”
As I listened to the humming, God brought to mind some familiar words.
The Resonant Voice of God
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3).
The Bible tells us that God creates by His spoken word. By Him all things were created. Everything in existence was created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).
As I pondered these thoughts, I started to think of the “humming of the universe” as, instead being, the resonant voice of God echoing throughout eternity saying, “Let there be!”
If God failed to speak, we would cease to exist. The only reason you and I have life is because God chooses to speak out our name. Because God says, “Let there be Heather!” I am here. Because God speaks out your name, you have life.
In that moment, I felt incredibly small. God seemed impossibly huge and yet at the same time, more personal than ever before.
Because while my God is vast and ancient and infinite, my name is on His lips and so is yours.
Try spending 15 minutes in complete silence listening for God’s voice. Allow Him to reveal what He wants to say to you.