“”When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. “–Revelation 8:1
I have just spent a wonderful half hour of silence with the Lord. I began doing that on quarterly retreats a couple of years ago, and the insights I receive from the Lord and the inspiration and productivity of the Holy Spirit are amazing. Sometimes there are things that I cannot share, but the Lord has impressed me to share with you just a little of what I have seen freshly in this time today.
For many of us, silence for half an hour seems virtually impossible. We have people to see, things to do, kids to care for, phone calls and emails to answer, etc. But if there was silence in heaven, it must be significant. How can we even imagine silence in heave for half an hour? And even if it happens in heaven, how do we do it on earth?
In some environments, it may be impossible to have total silence, but we can tune out the noise, the static, the interruptions–have a spiritual white noise machine, as it were. The way Susanna Wesley did it with 16 children was to put an apron over her head–her children knew not to bother her time with the Lord when the apron was over her head.
How can we get the silence today? Turn off the radio, the TV, the MP3 player, the cell phone, close the laptop, find a little corner somewhere, or even just sit in our car–there are any number of ways.
A half hour of silence seems an awful long time. What will we do? “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Or as Martin Luther would phrase it, “Be silent and let God mold you.”
In the silence this morning, God brought to my mind when I would take my young son to the barber to get his haircut, he would wiggle. The barber would say, “Be still,” but he would continue to wiggle. He would wiggle so much that inevitably the barber would make a slip and cut some hair he didn’t intend to cut. Then he or she would have to reshape the haircut. Sometimes we are so wiggly with God and won’t be still with Him that that molding becomes misshapen with nicks not intended by God at all, but we have brought it on ourselves.
Sometimes the silence also reveals things we have not heard before. A couple of nights ago it was raining real hard, so much so that it woke me up in the middle of the night. And then it stopped. Everything got silent. and then I heard a faint scratching sound. Then it stopped. I waited in silence. Then the scratching started again. I realized it was a mouse in our house taking refuge from the storm. I would not have known about the mouse without the silence. Sometimes to “be still and know God” means knowing God’s exposing Presence, in the silence exposing what needs to be removed from our lives.
God revealing who He is today. He is the gentle exposer. Yahweh Rohe—the God who sees. God sees so much—in fact, everything. He sees our past, present and future. He watches out for us—He sees what we need and provides. He sees our sin and gently exposes it, brings it to the surface, brings it to the light to deal with it.
Create some time to be still and know God today. If a half hour is too hard, start with 5 or 10 minutes, then build up to half an hour over time. Usually it takes me a couple of days to decompress before the insights start to flow, but then they gush forth from the Holy Spirit–out of our inmost being shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39).