Listening to the Sounds of Silence



Last night, just after our night mealtime was over, we had a power blackout. When this occurred there was no television going, the boys were in their rooms quietly…um…maybe studying? We went from having lights, to no lights. Wherever you were in the house, is where you stayed until your eyes grew accustom to the darkness around you. The first sense that kicks in to gear is hearing, because listening will allow you to stay safe until you can see again.

In our house the sudden darkness was followed by shocked exclamations coming from my teenagers’ bedrooms. There was some bumping into furniture and they came out, like bewildered little children, to ask me what I knew about the situation and when it would be fixed. They looked warily at me when I burst out laughing. I was, at the time, lighting two candles that I keep on the kitchen cupboard.

“I don’t know and… I don’t know” I said trying to contain my mirth.

“Why are you laughing mum?” my youngest inquired

“Because I know as much as you do. However, we first need to make sure it isn’t just the safety switch on our house. It is easy to see if the neighbourhood has the same blackout, just look at the streetlights outside.”

There was more bumping and exclamations before they returned with the verdict. It was bigger than just our house, the whole street was black. So, they gathered in my kitchen and asked me what they should do. I helpfully suggested that there was dishes to wash and dry… to which they disappeared back to their dark rooms. (yes, I am amused)

I didn’t really do the dishes either. I retreated to my room to lay on the bed in the dark. Suddenly I heard something, and I turned my ear towards the sound. I was surprised to hear baby chicks in the tree outside my closed bedroom window. I listened to their little chirps and the excitement in their chirps as obviously their parent joined them. Then the chirping became more muffled and less excited.

It was so very quiet. Even though our house had not been noisy before the blackout, it was almost deathly quiet now. You could hear yourself breathing. Soon I heard quiet footsteps of one teenager and the bed sunk under the weight of a body. My youngest lay quietly beside me. Soon more footsteps and my eldest joined me. I could hear them breathe. One had a slight wheeze as he obviously needed to take some asthma medication. I suggest he do this. In the dark I heard some more footsteps and I heard my husband come to a stop at the end of the bed. My two boys scampered off the bed and I heard them walk through the house.

My husband came a lay down beside me in the dark and  I put my head onto his chest. I could hear his heart beat. I was steady and strong. Suddenly the lights came back on, my husband removed himself back to his computer and I sighed and went to do the dishes.

This morning I found myself pondering the quiet that had come over our house with the blackout. So quiet that I could hear baby birds chirping. So quiet that I could hear my husband’s heartbeat, or my child breathing.

It was like the Lord had just put together some thoughts that had been in my mind for a while. For the past few weeks I have been reading Isaiah 28-35. I have felt saddened by the way they were treating the God who had redeemed them. The other morning, I found a scripture that I had read over so many times, but it had never been brought to my attention. Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NIV)

I sensed a clarity as I focused on what God desires of His children. He wants them to stop and listen… and obey.

Sometimes, the only way people will listen is to have all other noise stopped. Then it is like they look up from what they were doing and say, “oh… hallo God”. It becomes a shock to them to know that God is there at all.

Earlier on in Chapter 30 of Isaiah, the Lord is saying that His people are rebellious children who are unwilling to listen. (v9) This was not just being busy or having too much noise, this was hearing and refusing to listen.  They were asking Isaiah to stop speaking about God like it was too confrontive for them. Are we ever like that?

The ability to stop and listen sometimes is hard through the noise of life, but I believe that at least once a day we should be quiet and ask God to speak to our hearts. In this, we should keep in mind that sometimes it is not that we are busy or that the noise of life is so bad, it is just that we do not want to listen.

God wants us to hear Him. How can he speak to His children if they are too busy, too noisy, too much wanting to do their own thing?

If you desire God and everything that God has for you, then you must be wanting to hear… and wanting what God has planned.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jerimiah 29:11 NLT

Do you love that verse? I do. I love to know that God has plans for my life. I want God to have plans for my life. Do you?

To know the plans, you must listen.

For those plans to come to fruition, we must listen and obey.


Be blessed.