Guest post by Michael Kelley:
Sometimes silence is golden. In a world riddled with marketing
messages that assault our brains at every turn, silence is rare. It’s
precious. It’s fleeting, and it should be sought after for reflection –
to slow down the pace of life and reflect. Think. Pray.
Silence is also terrifying.
In the silence, there’s only you. Your thoughts. Your heart. You are
confronted with the terrible reality of yourself and you find there the
wealth of insecurities, double motives, and shallowness. It’s in the
silence that you play the “what-if” games about your future. Your
family. Your friends. With no sound to dull your internal monologue it’s
only you and the reality of the real.
Sometimes, in those moments of overwhelming silence, you simply don’t
know what to pray. Or at least I don’t. I don’t know the right way to
ask or what to ask for. I am overwhelmed by the daily onslaught of
responsibilities as an employee, a husband, a father, and a minister. I
open my mouth to break the rigid quiet and nothing comes out. I don’t
have the words. Not this time.
So what do you do when you don’t know what to pray? What do you do
when there looks to be no way out of a given situation? What do you do
when the loneliness or the pain or the stress is too much? What do you
do when you feel like you can’t pour out your heart to God because it’s
so full that it feels empty?
It’s at moments like these, I think, when the discipline of Scripture
memory comes to our aid. It’s for precisely times like this that we’ve
hidden the word of God in our hearts. It’s on these occasions, when we
don’t have the words, that we use the words God has already given to us.
You look deeply inside yourself and you find all the things that
terrify you – the sin. The insecurities. The doubt. The fear. The
anxiety. And then, huddled away in a corner, you find the flickering
ember of the word of God. And that’s where you go. That’s where you draw
from. And you begin, not with your words, but with His.
“When I am afraid I will trust in God. In God, whose word I praise, in God alone I will trust…” (Psalm 56:3).
“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simple-hearted…” (Psalm 115:6).
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation…” (Psalm 62:5-6).
Over and over the words come, and you let them come. It’s at these
times, when you don’t know what to say, that you trust in the word of
the Lord which gives voice to your deepest longings. And the fear of the
silence is overcome with faith.