On Silence & Solitude – Jared Schuler
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Silence is not the norm for me. I am married and have four kids. I work at a Christian camp and have lots of noise around me, yet the Bible has a lot to say about being silent before God.
Author Austin Phelps says:
“We may lay it down as an elementary principle of religion that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often alone with God.”
Many of you may be in a season of singleness. God has given you a gift. Singleness provides you with the opportunity for silence and solitude with God that those who are married and have children simply do not have.
Our culture may identify this singleness as a curse because we associate it with loneliness, but God is okay with loneliness. Sometimes it is loneliness that allows us to hear from him more clearly and to commune with him more closely.
Gene Fleming writes these words about our culture, “We have become a people with an aversion to the quiet and an uneasiness with being alone.”
In view of this, I’d like to give you four reasons why you as a child of God should pursue silence and enjoy solitude. I’ve taken these from a great book by Donald Whitney called Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
I. We should pursue silence and solitude in order to be more like Jesus.
Throughout his life, Jesus set aside time to meet with the Father. When he began his earthly ministry he went into the wilderness for 40 days. At the end of his ministry, Christ withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. And in the years in between Jesus consistently withdrew to a lonely place to commune with God.
II. We should pursue silence and solitude in order to hear the voice of God more clearly.
At camp we throw pool parties often. One thing these parties share in common is noise. The sound system is playing, the water slide is rolling, and kids are screaming. In this situation, I would compare the voice of God to a person standing at the side of the pool and tossing pebbles into the water. Due to the noise and activity of the party, the sound of the splashing pebble would be also impossible to perceive. But if you shut everything down and are there alone, you would clearly see and hear the splash of the pebble.
And so it is with the voice of God. In 1 Kings 19, God tells Elijah, “I am going to pass by you.” Then some incredible things happen. A great and powerful wind comes through and tears apart the mountain. Then there was an earthquake and a fire, but God was not in any of these loud things. He came to Elijah and spoke to him in a gentle whisper.
Silence and Solitude will allow us to hear the gentle whisper from the Father.
III. We should pursue silence and solitude in order to know and discern the will of God.
Before Jesus chose the 12 disciples he withdrew and prayed all night long. If you want to know what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will, then turn off the noise and pursue the quiet. There God will meet with you.
IV. Finally, we should pursue silence and solitude in order to learn how to control our tongues.
James says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
Donald Whitney writes these words:
“On a long fast you discover how much of the food you normally eat is really unnecessary, and when you practice silence and solitude you find that you don’t need to say many things you thought you needed to say. In silence we learn to rely more on God’s control in situations where we would normally feel compelled to speak or to speak too much. We find out that he is able to manage situations in which we once thought our input was indespensible.”
I want to encourage to you to go counter cultural. Challenge the culture’s aversion to the quiet because God meets with us there.
Today, would you pursue the discipline of silence and solitude.
Jared Schuler is the Crier Creek Family Camp Director at Pine Cove. He received a Masters of Divinity from Southern Seminary in 2011 and serves as a guest instructor at the Kanakuk Institute.