The Value of Silence

Be still, and know that I am God…”   Psalm 46:10

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Last week several poignant situations reminded me of the value of silence and there was truly nothing to say.   God admonished Job’s friends for their unhelpful comments while Job was in the midst of suffering.  James warns that the tongue can be as dangerous as fire or poison.  While I always intend to encourage and help others to know real joy, there are times when even well- intentioned words will not help.

On the Fourth, we enjoyed a great fire-works display that my nephew put on. One member of the family was not impressed.  As the display got and louder, this four-year-old was more and more agitated.  Finally, with hands over his ears he shouted, “I scared!  Take me inside!”  I would have gladly gone inside with him, but he did not want someone he had only seen a couple of times in his life.  Only mommy would do, no matter how much she wanted to stay outside and watch the show.

When we are suffering—physically, emotionally, or spiritually—only someone we trust will do.  Even then, words can be empty. If we know the Lord, He is the one we turn to, however we have all been there; we also want “someone with skin on”.   Job’s friends had the right idea when they came to see him, “And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (Job 2:13).  Obviously, they should have kept silent and allowed God to do his perfect work. Sometimes we simply have no power to make it better. But we can let them know they are not alone.

Another family member is near the end of his days; he has gone silent. His hearing is gone, and he has nothing more to say.  His work is finished, but his life speaks of a great heart and a strong faith.  Soon, he will know real freedom, freedom from the limitations of this life.  Family members, who are able, come—just to “be with” while they can.  Even if we cannot be there, he is in our thoughts and prayers. He knows, and we know, God is God.  His will is perfect; his timing is perfect, so we wait.

Where is the joy in all this?  It is Jesus.  Trust and hope in Him is real.  While we wait—while our precious loved one waits—God is near.  And we can be still.

Update:  My dear father-in-law went to be with Jesus shortly after I posted this article this morning.  God is good…all the time.