Revelation 8:1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
I’ve read of a Christian leader who takes this verse as a key to time management, saying that if half an hour was worth making note of in heaven, then any time we have a block of time as much as that we should be intentional in our use of it. That has a lot to be said for it. However, the thing that strikes me at the moment is the use God had for the half hour in question. As much as goes on in John’s Revelation, quiet is somewhat surprising. There is value to loud praise and singing, but there is value to be quiet as well. In our busy world today, quiet can be hard to come by. Often enough, we are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts. Modern technology has made it possible to maintain a virtually constant stream of auditory input, and some people become anxious and even agitated without it. A famous verse says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) That particular verse could also be translated, “Stop fighting.” One reason we are so addicted to our music, etc. is that we don’t really want to listen to God; we are resisting Him. That resistance deprives us of untold blessings. I’ve always thought it was tragic when I have seen people walking in beautiful natural settings with earbuds in, oblivious to the sounds and even the sights around them. I think one reason most people have never been aware of God speaking to them is that they have never been that quiet. In Pentecostal/Charismatic circles it is not unusual for people to gather around someone to pray for them. I think it was Katie Fortune who first pointed out to me that too often the person being prayed for is also praying non-stop, either in their native language or in a prayer language. That somewhat defeats the purpose! There are times when we need to be quiet, to listen, to receive what God has for us. In the perfection of heaven, silence is one of the blessings.
I was reminded just recently of how God once told me to shut up so I could hear Him. I tend to be a talker, and one thing I have had to learn as a counselor is how to be quiet long enough for the other person to get out what they really need to say. In that, I’ve got to be really listening, rather than just formulating in my mind the next thing I’m going to say. I’ve got to be quiet not just externally but internally. In the hectic pace of life today, genuine quiet can be a rare commodity, to the point that we forget what it’s like. With the variety of demands on me I sometimes find myself longing for it! I need to remember that internal quiet is a choice that doesn’t depend on external circumstances, and make the choice to indeed, be still, and know that God is God, my Creator, Savior, and Lord.
Father, yesterday was certainly another practicum in this. Thank You for continuing to work on me in all the ways I need to grow. Help me not simply try to avoid responsibilities, as I am so prone to do, but rather take care of things when I should and not put them off, since only then will I have the inner quiet for which I hunger. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!