My house is anything but quiet. If you have ever experienced the combined noise levels of a six-year-old and ten-month-old boy, then you know it can get loud quick. The noise rarely ceases from the time they wake up until the moment they go to bed. My wife and I enjoy the joyful sounds of our children, but we also cherish the few moments of quiet we get in the early mornings and late at night. When I get out of bed I softly tip-toe around the house in the hopes I will get to enjoy one cup of coffee before anyone wakes up. Silence is a precious gift.
Researchers tell us our world is getting louder and louder. It’s hard to find a quiet place or a moment of silence. We are surrounded by noise all the time. Sirens, Cars, Television, Radio, Airplanes, Construction, Trains, and much much more. Quietness is a rare commodity in our day and age.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, the author offers an interesting piece of wisdom.
“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” (Eccl. 4:6)
Qoheleth is offering some insight on what it means to have a meaningful and happy life. He says instead of gripping our work with two hands, we should have a handful of quietness.
If this were the only verse about this subject, then it might be hard to figure out what the author of Ecclesiastes is getting at, but we find verses throughout the Bible about being quiet. Here are a few.
The psalmist in Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Knowing God has something to do with stillness and being quiet.
In Isaiah the prophet looks forward to a time when God will make all things right. He says,
“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Isa. 32:18)
We long for quiet resting places. This is a desire deep within us. It is part of our design. It is who we are, but what do we find in those moments of stillness? Why are they so special?
Perhaps, we find the answer in 1 Kings 19:11-12.
“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
The psalmist said be still and know God. After searching in the wind, fire, and earthquake, Elijah encounters God in a gentle whisper.
In the New Testament, Jesus instructs his followers to pray by going into an empty room and shutting the door (Matt. 6:6). There is something about the stillness and quietness of an empty room that assists us in our communication with God.
I struggle with finding times to be still. I need times of silence and quietness, but I admit they do not come very often.
Last week I got to experience more quiet time than usual. My wife and I went on a retreat in the Texas hill country. We stayed at a lodge in a canyon in the middle of nowhere. There was no cell phone service. There was no internet service. We were surrounded by trees, rivers, hills, birds, and wildlife. It was quiet. This allowed me time to clear my thoughts and focus on God. In the quietness of the canyon, I was able to reflect on God more than usual. This was a blessing. After four days, I felt refreshed. I felt a sense of peace, and I felt I was able to draw closer to God, not by getting away, but by being still and learning to be quiet.
The Bible is clear. We need moments of quietness in our lives. Quietness blesses us. It refreshes us, and it helps us draw closer to God.
May you find quiet times in your life where you are able to be still and know God.