What Do You Fear To Hear?

Of all the things our modern, electrically-powered society has destroyed, none is so easily overlooked as "silence." A century ago, a world without radios, televisions, CD players, pagers, and cell phones provided numerous opportunities to be alone with oneís thoughts. Today, we seem to fear silence, afraid of what we might hear if we were forced to stop and listen to ourselves think.

Five weeks ago I began an experiment: I turned off the radio in my truck for the entire month of January. No music, no news, no talk. Just silence. And in that month of silence I came to love those twenty or thirty minutes a day without noise.

At first it was hard. In fact for the first few days I felt so unnerved by the silence that I found myself talking out loud, even though I was the only one there. But even those one-sided discussions usually focused on something I was worried about or some idea I was trying to develop, so while I may have looked strange talking to myself, the time was productive.

As the days passed, I came to enjoy the silence, since it provided my one chance all day to simply sit and think. I have never had much success praying while driving, but during these days of stillness I definitely received insights I would not have found otherwise. I think maybe I heard what Richard Foster describes as "the divine Whisper" once or twice.

Despite His hectic schedule, Jesus often sought out solitude and silence. His forty days in the wilderness ... just before choosing the twelve ... after the feeding of the 5000 ... following the healing of the leper ... before he faced the cross; in each case, Jesus intentionally withdrew to spend time alone in prayer, solitude, and silence.

Your car may be the one sanctuary on earth where you can regularly experience silence. But even there, you must choose silence over noise. It might be worth a month for you to give it a try ó I got so much out of it that Iím going to continue it for February.

Thereís a lot to hear in silence. Are you willing to listen?

© Mark Phillips

© 2001 Matrix Development, Mark Phillips. All rights
reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for noncommercial
purposes as long as full credit and a link back is given.

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