• dannydavis02

The Gift of Silence

In our hurried and goal-oriented profession called ministry, we are often hyper-concerned about hearing from God. That’s not a bad thing. As spiritual leaders we need a sense of God’s direction and most certainly His presence.

But how many of us have had seasons when it seems like God is silent? We pray and God is silent. We worship God and silence. In that silence, we get nervous, anxious, and begin to think through every thing we’ve done and are doing searching for some sin or evil we’ve done that turned off God’s voice. Instead of trusting like Elijah, we become the prophets of Baal: making much noise believing that somehow our outbursts will wake Him up.

I am an introvert so I need - maybe crave is a better word - silence. I need times where I can tune out the world, turn off the media, and let the silence of God speak to me. But everything in me resists against this craving. All of my leadership training and my learned ministry model thrives on action! So I push back at the very thing that will bring restoration to my soul all while complaining of my weariness.

Noise makes me feel valued. Noise makes me feel approved. Noise makes me feel secure. And therein lies the problem - my value, my approval, and my security come only from a relationship with Christ. Yet, the noise of leadership and progress and success looms large casting shade over my eyes hindering my view of the One who loves me.

Silence feels awkward. Silence makes me nervous. Silence seems like a lack of forward progress. But I think these visceral responses to silence are because I've prioritized listening to other things over Jesus. Peter Scazzero states,

“We need to be alone so we can listen. With the hectic pace of our lives, the incessant noise of television, radio, computers, music, and our overloaded schedules, it is no wonder the ancient path of silence and solitude is lost to most believers in the West. But we must take the time.”

That last line is the kicker - we must take the time! However, when we equate time with money, time with progress, time with advancement, and so on, then sitting alone in silence before God will always feel useless. Yet, the very core of our calling as ministers demands that we hear from God. While God does speak in thunder, He also speaks in a whisper. But that whisper often goes unnoticed. So what do we do?

Start your day without a screen. I know the first thing most people reach for in the morning is their mobile device. If you're like me, I use my phone for an alarm clock, therefore, my first touch of the day is a screen where I see those alerts telling me others need my attention or of some event in the world. Maybe we just need to go old school and get an alarm clock.

Start slow. Silence can be hard to take at first. Beginning by setting short silence goals at varying times of the day - 10 minutes in the morning - 10 minutes before going to bed is a good place to start. Then just go from there....

Set your expectations. Maybe in your times of silence you'll hear the clear voice of God - maybe not! The goal is not revelation but restoration. Time to focus on God's presence will always rejuvenate our soul and calm our Spirit. And in that calm we can listen for that still small voice.

Set aside a place. Silence and solitude often go hand-in-hand. Find a place where you can be alone. Years ago I worked at a Fortune 500 company. We had lots of unused offices on our campus. I would often spend my lunch break sitting in one of those offices with the door closed in silence - listening.

Well, I hope this has helped you or at least sparked something in your spirit. As always please pray for Uganda and for us as we serve as missionaries to the rural and remote people of that nation.


Dr. Davis

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