I have forgotten what silence sounds like. Apparently, it’s quite rare today.
A few days ago, I spent the entire day in the Dallas airport. No, there was no weather issue. It was beautiful in Dallas that day. Mine was a simple problem. I accidentally bought the wrong return flight back to Iowa when scheduling my return from a week long business trip. My scheduled flight wouldn’t be leaving until 8:30pm and so I was facing 12 hours in DFW airport if I did nothing.
I tried to fly standby but learned that the “passenger C class” ticket that I had did not allow me to fly standby. The cost of just buying a one way ticket for a morning flight seemed exorbitant to me and since I didn’t have anything pressing for my attention at home, I got a breakfast muffin, sat down in a fairly quiet waiting area with a tv monitor and had breakfast contemplating how God might use my 11 hours before it was time to board and go home.
The tv monitor was airing a program about a guy that was measuring the silence that currently exists in the national park that he was exploring that day. Don’t ask me how he measures silence, nor even what park he was in. I didn’t pay that much attention and it really doesn’t matter. But I do remember that in a recent interview, he shared that there are very few places on this planet where there is complete silence anymore. He also said that in less than 10 years, there will be no place on the earth where there isn’t some level of noise. Seems hard to believe but who knows? Maybe he’s right.
I’m not writing to debate his claim but his comment that silence would be ending soon sparked a few thoughts.
Number 1, at that very moment, I was hearing all kinds of noise. There was the drone of people walking through the terminal, the dull roar of airplanes through the glass, the constant rumble of different voices coming over the loud speakers announcing everything from flight changes, to people being paged to whatever.
Noise that I had not noticed moments before was suddenly all around.
The second thought that I had was that I am uncomfortable – shall I say frightened maybe? – at the thought of spending any length of time in silence. Yet it’s in the quiet that God speaks:
Isaiah 30 says, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” This verse is actually a reprimand from God to the children of Israel. The next part of the verse says, “yet you would have none of it.” God is telling his people that quietness is necessary to hear from him, respond to him, repent, rest, trust. God seems to be making quietness a high priority.
Apparently the children of Israel didn’t like silence any more than I do. Hmmm…
Oh, and one more thought. If I can find a fairly quiet corner of this airport today, I am going to seek it out. Maybe, just maybe, I can quiet my heart, pull out my Bible, curl up in a chair and let the Lord of silence redeem the half a day that I have before I need to board my plane.
Something to think about.