The Effects of Noise and Benefits of Silence
Is silence possible in our very noisy world? Even as I write in the quiet of my space there is a train coming down the track blowing its horn, a dog barks incessantly in the distance, and the hum of the diffuser on my desk buzzes along with the birds’ songs outside my window. What does true silence even sound like? I often long for real silence and feel that there must be positive effects on simply being quiet.
The definition of noise is unwanted sound and as that might be different for each of us, typically noise is thought of as loud or persistent unwanted sound that is not only annoying but that can also lead to adverse impacts on learning, quality of life, and health. Our bodies long for quiet and much of the world, especially urbanites, have no idea of what true quiet sounds like. Studies show that our bodies require silence to repair themselves. But often true silence begins by willing ourselves to be quiet, which in turn creates new ways of thinking and is a deeper form of experiencing life.
Silence is not only exclusive but rich and luxurious. There is a wonder in this precious commodity that seems set apart for only those with the means to obtain it. However, it doesn’t have to remain reserved for only those with special privileges, but if we want it, we do have to seek it out. One of the best ways to reach out for quiet is to simply stop making our own noise. It seems obvious that we can’t listen if we are talking and clanging our own gong.
Cease the Noise and Be Still
The noise we make as individuals often comes from the added activity of busyness that takes over our modern-day lives. So, when we take the time to purposefully be quiet and create our own silence, regardless of the noise around us, it helps not only our bodies slow down, but it allows us to listen internally. It is in these moments that we can quietly watch for the glory of God to reveal Himself to us. When we choose to sing songs of silence not only can we hear more clearly the voice of God, but we can allow ourselves to stand in awe of Him.
It has been said that “To listen to God in worship is greater than to hear any man/woman preach.” When we take the time to be silent and listen to God, we can clearly see the wonders of Him. It is in this place that His magnificent glory takes center stage and there isn’t anything for us to do but to quietly sit and bask in His glory. Being still and quiet appears to go hand in hand and when these two activities come together with our ability to experience God and worship Him at a higher level, we can then see glimpses of His glory.
Seeing and Listening to the Glory on the Mountaintop
As we look to the events on the Mount of Transfiguration, the glory of Christ is revealed opening both eyes and ears to the magnificence of God. Christ allows the disciples a glimpse of glory giving them a sense of awe and wonder. When we allow our souls to experience silence, through quieting the external and internal noises of life, we allow the voice of God to be clearly heard. For we, like Peter, James, and John at this moment on the mountain, not only will see the glory of God but clearly hear Him.
But even as He spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to Him.”Matthew 17:5 (NLT)
It was with these words in the quiet that the disciples understood that Jesus is the Son of God and it is this astounding truth that prompts the proper response of worship. Here in this clear transfiguration on top of the mountain, the realization comes that Christ is more than a great leader, a good example or influence, or great prophet. He was all these things and much more because He is the Son of God! When we cancel out our own noise and create our personal silence, we too can understand that the message of the transfiguration is simple. It is the complete change of the appearance of Christ into His more beautiful spiritual state that allows His full radiant glory to shine and it is this transfiguration that allows us to understand fully that the words of Christ are true.
Learning How to Bask in the Glory of Silence
When we cancel out our own noise and accept the silence of His presence, we can see the glory of Him all around us, clearly seeing His light, colors, wonders, and beauty no matter where we are. It is on this higher plane of silence that we can put our skepticism aside and embrace that there are mysteries in this world that we will not understand but in this, we can be assured that God is behind them all. Furthermore, it is in this place of silence that we know and understand that we can depend fully on Christ and trust Him and His message. This allows us to completely commit our lives to be led by Him. When we take the time to daily reflect in silence, His beauty will surround us as we can clearly see Him.
One of the ways we can be encouraged to experience silence through the glory of the Transfiguration ourselves is through the practice of Lectio Divina, which means divine reading. It is a monastic practice of reading scripture, not for study, but for the living Word. Typically, there are 4 steps involved in this ancient-modern practice; Lectio (Read), Meditatio (Reflect), Oratio (Respond), and Contemplatio (Rest). It is the final step that allows the silence to transform us in the stillness of God. It is in this silence that our eyes fully open, we can listen carefully, and pay attention to the simple song of silence that reveals the glory of God.
Seeing and Hearing Clearly in the Silence
Won’t you be challenged to be silent with God each day clearly hearing His voice and seeing Him in your surroundings recognizing His full authority over you? Find your conviction rooted in knowing that Christ is the Son of God. Seek your motivation in the revealing that God gave authority to the Words of Christ and you can fully trust Him knowing that the Bible is not a collection of fables or human ideas about God. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God’s very Words are given through people to people and you hold life because Jesus is the Messiah that came and will come again for you.
Love in Christ,
Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.Heri Nouwen
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you take time to seek silence with God on a regular basis? Have you experienced the positive effects that listening to God in the silence can hold? Share your thoughts on the positivity that comes in your life from willing yourself to be quiet and bask in the silence of His glory.
Credits Manney, E. (2019, October 18). Lectio Divina: A Beginner's Guide. Retrieved from Busted Halo: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/lectio-divina-beginners-guide