Posted by: Jo | August 19, 2011

Silence is Golden

“Be still and know that I am God..” – Psalms 46:10

The wail of an ambulance siren pierces the air with nerve shattering decibels and I am surprised by the minimum reaction of the bystanders around me. Music pours forth from a loud speaker attached to the outside of a store and yet those hurrying by seem oblivious or take note of the lyrics. Others appear to be chatting loudly to themselves until one observes the cell phone, attached it seems, permanently to the ear. Even those who are ostensibly out walking for their health and well-being seem to need some sort of noise to accompany them. They have all sorts of cords and ear phones to make sure their special form of music goes with them. Are we frightened of silence?

In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal wrote,

“The sole course of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room”

There is a charming story from a little French village. The local priest noticed that every morning an old man entered the church, sat in the front pew for some time and then left. The man sat quietly and didn’t seem to be praying so one morning the priest asked him why he came. This was his answer.

“I sit and look at the good Lord and the good Lord looks at me”

The priest was humbled by this answer. The old man had a beautiful relationship with his Saviour, one that really illustrated the verse from Psalm 46:10. He had learnt to be still and easily recognized who was God and was comfortable just being in his presence.

Perhaps we have lost a little of the awe that knowing God should evoke within us. When we forget his majesty we also forget his incredible power. We forget the wonderful privilege it is to be welcomed into his presence. We forget who it is we are worshipping.

The prophet, Habakkuk reminds us,

“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” – Habakkuk 2:20

SilenceIsGoldenWhen we are mixing with others in today’s society, unfortunately most of us think that any sort of silence must be filled immediately with our chatter, however meaningless. The perfect companion is the one who can sit in silence with you without any awkwardness, but this type of friendship is only achieved between friends who have worked hard at being friends, who care deeply about each other, who respect each other and who cherish the friendship.

The Lord is longing for us to have such a similar relationship with him. This requires purposefully ignoring distractions, pausing in the midst of a frantic life style and setting aside a time of stillness and silence which we share with the Lord. Scripture calls this “waiting upon the Lord”. Truly we will find this silence to be golden.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; …” – Psalms 37:7


  1. Psalm 46:10 has long been a balm to my soul. The long walks along the small creek where I was raised, watching the frogs (when there were some); it was my escape to find peace and to be in a place of dreams. In a search to fill that God-shaped hole me: a new job, a new home, a new city, a new love; they all took me to the end of myself – I became full of emptiness. When I finally surrendered to “the fight” and stopped “the running” I encountered GOD. Sometimes I get pulled back into that crazy, crazy state of being. But slowly, I’m learning that in the midst of the din, I can stop and “be still and know that HE is God”. He is always with me.


  2. Yes, I’m one of those individuals who find it hard to sit in silence and yet when I do, I appreciate it. Sometimes there is just too much noise going on for my liking. I have a device that I use with my digital hearing-aids and it has 5 settings that I can use in different places: 1. regular, 2. restaurants, 3. telephone, 4. bus and my favorite, 5. mute. Learning to sit in silence before the Lord is an ongoing process, the more I do it, the more my head and my heart becomes clear and uncluttered.


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