Silence is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another. By that I mean a long enough silence for them to share their heart, fully and completely, with our undivided attention and with acknowledgement but without interruption. This is a gift so precious and so rare it is hardly ever given.
Many times we are not really listening; we are waiting for them to stop talking so we can have our say. Silence means we are listening to understand - not listening to respond, to defend, to correct, to rebuke, to criticise - simply listening to understand who they are, what they mean . . . listening to understand their heart.
Silent Before Almighty God
Not only is this a gift we rarely give to another, it is a gift we do not often give to God. We come barging into the place of prayer loaded with the demands of our day, cluttered with the affairs of life, our hearts hard wayside soil beaten down until little can sink in - talking but not listening. Not listening to Him speaking in the Silence.
If we would really know His heart we must come before Him with the precious gift of Silence. When we do we will hear the whispers of His Grace, and sitting there face to face we will come close enough to hear His heartbeat. That, my friend, is what it means to know God.
Bring Our Silence to the Scripture
It is important to bring our Silence to the Scripture. When we come with our doctrine already fully defined and our convictions complete and set in concrete, we are not being internally silent enough to hear Him speak in His Word. This tendency to filter what we read through the grid of our inadequate understanding ensures our immaturity and hinders our growth in knowledge and the fear of the Lord. When our convictions conflict with the Word too often the Word is twisted to fit our convictions. How glorious it is when we are Silent before the majesty of the Bible and we let God shatter and reshape our theology.
Custodian of Secrets
During confidential conversation it takes a while for people to access the depths of their personhood, but if you silently listen - listen without judgment or opinion or interruption - and listen long enough, it is amazing what people will tell you. We then become the sacred custodian of their secrets. Having received secrets shared in the silence we have given we then keep silent about the things we have heard. We share them with no one.
For the most part I regard as confidential everything shared with me. If the person with whom I am talking and to whom I am listening wants to tell someone else about their life details, that is for them to do, not me. If there is something I hear I would like to share with my wife, or others, I ask permission to do so. Otherwise, it goes into the vault; my lips are sealed. And since I rarely have much to say anyways, it is not all that difficult to maintain that confidence.
Custodian of God's Secrets
We do not learn the depths of His heart
during a smash-and-grab time of prayer.
We cannot have a hit-and-run
encounter with the Almighty and
receive much of eternal significance.
Our Silence in His Presence is a gift that blesses the heart of God. Delightfully, the longer you stay in the place of Silence before God, the deeper He goes. We do not learn the depths of His heart during a smash-and-grab time of prayer. We cannot have a hit-and-run encounter with the Almighty and receive much of eternal significance. But give God time and it is amazing what He will share. We become His confidants. Most of what He will share is precious between two friends. But with His permission there are some wonderful nuggets of truth we will be privileged to share with others. When we do so with His permission it will not be to impress, but simply to bless.