I’m sure most – if not all, of us have experienced it. Maybe our teenager comes home heartbroken after their first breakup, we are visiting a grieving family member at a funeral home, or a distraught friend tells us they have just lost their job. We find ourselves wanting to fix something we can’t and vainly search for the right words in a futile attempt to bring comfort. In the end, finding no words that even feel right, we result to some old worn out cliché that, while likely applicable and certainly heartfelt, is altogether unnecessary.
Yes, the words we struggle to find are meant to bring comfort, but whose ache are they intended for, theirs or ours? The grieving will likely not remember a single word we say, and the awkwardness of the moment will often lead them to try to comfort us.
But, what if we said nothing, and instead simply provided a shoulder to cry on, offered a heartfelt hug, and allowed our friend to speak – if they even felt inclined? What if we gave them the gift of silence?
Often silence doesn’t feel like a gift. But silence does gift us with the opportunity to explore without distraction, receive without obligation, and rest without interruption.
And, what if, the same awkwardness we experience in those silent moments is actually the same gift God in His silence extends to us? Would that change how we viewed silence? Would silence still drive us to doubt, or instead would it lead us to explore, to receive, and to rest?
According to the Psalmist God instructs is to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
God knows our propensity to chatter in order to break the silence, and He also knows that our chatter will likely distract us, and others, from the very thing this gift is designed for, knowing Him in all His many ways as Comforter, Provider, Defender, Healer, Deliverer, and the list goes on. We may just discover as that old adage goes, that silence really is golden!