Why Silence, Anyway?

Something uniquely powerful happens when we enter the "sanctuary of God."

Psalm 73 is a powerful illustration of what happens when we enter into silence before the Lord. The author, Asaph, recounts his internal consternation as he watches the wicked prosper. It doesn't seem fair to him that such a rebellious lot not only get away with their depravity, but are seemingly rewarded for it. "They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don't have troubles like other people; they're not plagued with problems like everyone else." (vv. 4-5).

Meanwhile Asaph tries his best to lead a righteous life, and what does he get for it? Nothing. "Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?" (v. 13).

I recognize this kind of self-pity. When I wallow in it, I ultimately find myself in freefall, like Asaph, spiraling downward toward the pit of despair.

But everything changes when we enter "the sanctuary of God." It is there, Asaph continues in verse 17, that understanding comes. When we remove ourselves from the dwelling of self-absorbed humanity and enter purposefully into the presence of God, the "aha" moment happens. Proper perspective is restored. Clarity dawns. Our skewed perceptions are made right.

Most of us are exposed to a myriad of voices every day, and the great majority of them would try to convince us to think in ways that are contrary to the principles that reign in the kingdom of God. Removing ourselves and entering into "the sanctuary," through silence and solitude, help us sit attentively before the True Voice and be turned 'round right again. What once made us anxious is now released into loving hands. Our anger turns into repentance. Our agitation is replaced by peace—peace that the world cannot give.

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Listening; Prayer; Silence; Solitude; Spiritual disciplines
Today's Christian Woman, October , 2010
Posted October 1, 2010

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