I knew recently about Ernie Krause. He works recording sounds of nature. In 1968, in order to record one hour of undisturbed natural sound, he had to record 15 hours, and then edit the noises (cars, airplanes, factories and so on). In 2008, in order to record one hour of undisturbed natural sound he had to record 2000 hours, yes 2000, as crazy as it sounds. 183 million people in America live enduring levels of noise that are harmful according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Think about it, we are bombarded, flooded and surrounded by sounds and noises we cannot even choose.
This reminds us of the story of the prophet Elijah. He was going through a moment as a prophet when he was extremely successful. He was even able to defeat 400 prophets from Baal all by himself. He was the Rambo for Yahveh. People believe in his leadership and his voice was very influential. He was popular, admired, famous. Nonetheless, at that very moment in his career and personal life, he becomes depressed. Deeply depressed. So he goes to a mountain to meet with God (the account is in 1 Kings 19 in the Bible). There is an earthquake, there is a strong wind and there is a fire. But God is not in any of them. God, the Scripture says, was in “a gentle whisper”, other versions render it like, ‘sheer silence”.
God was in pure silence…
Could it be that what we need to encounter healing, peace, wisdom and maybe happiness, has to do with meeting God in silence? Could it be that all the other noises, even of phenomenal things are preventing us from hearing his “gentle whisper”?
Bippers, cell phones, radios, TVs, voices, more noise vs. S I L E N C E.
Search your hearts and be silent (Psalms 4:4), Be still and know that I am God (Psalms 46:10)
Perhaps the answer we desperately need, the clarity we long for and the remedy for anxiety we want so much, won’t come from anything else than silence in the presence of God. Sheer silence and a gentle whisper are generously waiting for us at the mountain.