In the absence of any sound or noise, God is not “silent” as some would define it.
His creative voice still resonates through time and permeates all that He has ever imagined.
Some would say that silence is a lack of interaction or connection. Some would say that they haven’t “heard” God speak to them in a long time—if ever. Yet scripture tells us that, “…all creation groans and travails waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.” and “… For the invisible things of him from the creation
of the world are clearly seen.”
What do these groanings and travailings sound like? Not like the mountain brook that sends its soft rumbling sound constantly to all who come near—more like the howling wind of a distant tropical storm.
What do these invisible things look like? A new-born baby bursting forth from its mother’s womb! A late evening, full-moon, summertime-walk?
During lunch with a friend the other day, our conversation turned to family type stuff and some of the frustrations that come with parenthood. In the course of this more personal interchange, I asked my friend what God was speaking to him about some of the scenarios he was sharing with me. His comment was quick and seemingly practiced: God created the earth and then left us to fend for ourselves.
This reply from a person I know has felt the hand of God and by faith has heard His voice—heard his voice in terms of feeling to do this or that instead of something else.
At that point I didn’t know what to say and since we were done eating, we left the restaurant and headed back to our respective jobs. Just before my friend dropped me off at my work place, I had this thought which I quickly shared: You may not think that God is speaking to you (that He is silent) but instead of hearing an audible voice on your own as in times past—perhaps God is speaking to you through your friends.
Therefore my conclusion: God is not silent as some would define silence.
In a book of poetry I just finished entitled “God’s Silence” by Franz Wright, he says in one poem that, “…I have heard God’s silence like the sun.” I have really no idea of what he is trying to get me to see in this verse other than the fact that the sun is everywhere and without it we would not be alive. And oh yeah, the sun doesn’t really have a vocabulary other than to say, “…don’t stare directly into me and if you are going to be out in me for a long time, wear some SPF 50 so bad things don’t happen to your skin.”
So, in other words, I would have to believe that even a deaf person can “hear” God. That hearing is not about audibility but a knowing that transcends our very senses. Maybe the term would be sinisthesia or a blending our senses. I can say when I have seen something miraculous that I have heard God speak.
What comes to mind as I write these words is a picture of my wife and I having dinner in some fancy restaurant. Maybe we are celebrating our anniversary or a bonus check—nevertheless, the picture is the same. As we leisurely talk about our hopes and dreams over a glass of wine and a tasty meal, I have often had the feeling that what we are experiencing is somewhat unreal—a scene from a movie caught in time. That there are literally thousands of people all over the world enjoying the company of their mate and a good dinner along with us is somewhat overwhelming. That the supply system that brings the steak or shrimp to our table works as well as it does is almost deafening to me—I am aware of all the people that did their job in order to facilitate my good time with my wife. The bible even tells me that the enjoyment of the fruits of one’s own labor is a gift from God. And I take it as such and wish that that moment could be enjoyed forever—of course the moment passes and we are right back to paying bills online and wondering why our boss doesn’t understand us.
Yet, in all of this, I see the hand of God and feel His voice—it is a silence that almost permeates every fiber of my being—I am so full at that very moment that I could die and go to heaven and not even argue about the timing.
Does the voice of God transcend our senses? I would have to say YES!
I guess then the question remains—what are we hearing and are we paying attention.
And that is a “ride” that will take us down another path for another time.
NOTE: (added 4/8/09) Part two to this thought process is here.