Why are we afraid of silence? I can hear the answer already: “I’m not afraid of silence, I can be quiet if I wish to!” It’s a bit like the person who suggests they smoke because they wish to; they can give it up at any time.
Silence is like darkness. Few city dwellers know real blackness, there are always lights somewhere; streetlights blast the darkness all night, even in our bedrooms. The total absence of light is frightening and we tend to avoid it.
Yet if darkness is to be feared, why do people shy away from the light? Is it simply because our deeds are evil as Jesus stated? If we’re honest, it’s embarrassing to have the light shine too deep into our lives, revealing what we hide from the world. However inconvenient and distressing darkness may be, it is still a useful hiding place.
But darkness is compared to ignorance, misunderstanding, or loss; an inability to find our way in the dim times of life. Light brings clarity, revealing a way out of the difficulty. That’s why Jesus claimed to be the Light of the World: He proclaimed the way from fear of death to meaning and purpose for life, beyond the murky rote of simply producing replacement generations.
Similarly, how often are people actually quiet, and experience silence? We can plug siren sounds into our ears to block out discomforting thoughts. Perhaps a confusing cacophony of sound is a consoling distraction from having to think about our accountability to God and His world.
As the holiday season begins, it’s a chance to “get away from it all.” Maybe a chance to get away from the sounds that surround us and find some “peace and quiet”? It’s in the quiet times the light can penetrate our lives to bring clarity, not fear; honesty, not subterfuge; and peace in place of ignorance and confusion.
Here we have a chance to listen to God’s still, small voice, usually drowned in the din of life, and check our alignment with His truth and values, His answers to our deepest fears. Here we can find our ultimate need fulfilled: peace with God, the grace of forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ.
Listen in the silence; it’s not to be feared, and the light that can penetrate our souls is the greatest gift this world and heaven can ever provide.