It’s tough to find silence in our world today. On the occasions where I happen to be alone in our house, I notice the absence of all the little noises that our family makes when they’re going about their lives. But, I also notice all of the little creaks of the house as the outside temperature changes, and all of the sounds outside from the neighborhood. It doesn’t seem natural.
But really, even in those rare times when I find a time of silence (from my surroundings), I still have a lot going on in my mind. Sometimes, it’s a flood of thoughts about what the next day might hold, or a review of what happened in the last 24 hours. That kind of “meditation” on circumstances (rather than on the Creator) is one thing that keeps people from falling asleep at night.
There are two steps required to find stillness, when we want to listen to God without distraction:
- Finding quiet surroundings (as best as we can). Many people learn to schedule quiet time with God in the morning or late at night, when the rest of the world around them is sleeping. (Perhaps this is why God seems to have created “morning people” and “night people”, so that each group can spend some time with Him.)
- Quieting our own thoughts. This isn’t trying to empty our mind entirely, as some faiths encourage. Instead, it is quieting the voices that drown out the word of God’s will, and filling up the space with God’s Word (whether written for us, or spoken to us).
In Psalm 4, the writer (David) speaks of meditating and being still:
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Psalms 4:4 NASB
When he is done, David is able to sleep (see v8), because God takes care of him, and perhaps because he has replaced the noise in his life with the wisdom of God.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.
Psalms 4:8 NASB
May you find the peace that comes from God, and a focus on Him – no matter what the noise may be around you.
A version of this devotion originally appeared at fcccanton.com, as a Study Guide for the September 22, 2013 message, “Getting Rid of Ambient Noise”.