Vol 9, Num 2 :: 2010.01.22 — 2010.02.04
I live in a medium-size college town in the state of Pennsylvania. It is unsettlingly quiet right now, and it will be for a few more days. And then, from the silence, a cacophony of sound will flood Main Street as approximately 10,000 college students migrate back to what they might consider a second home. From the point of their return, fifteen weeks will divide this time of silence from the next one: summer break. This is the redundant melody that I have grown accustomed to for the past three years. I am a college student who stays behind, and I am beginning to hear God’s voice in the silence.
During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, my parents moved out to Colorado. It was in the silence that God told me to stay behind. Numerous times in the Psalms we are told to be still, to be silent before God. I stayed behind, and with my family 1,500 miles away, life became even quieter. It is in the silence that I began to notice people, and not your average run-of-the-mill “I’m from a small town south of here” kind of people. When you slow down and are still, you begin to notice people who have fallen between the cracks.
John 4 recounts the time when Jesus arrived in Samaria exhausted, so he sat down. Had he not sat down but gone ahead with his disciples to find food, he would have missed the Samaritan woman, someone who had fallen between the cracks. It is when we are going about our normal every day routines, like getting a drink of water, that Jesus wants to meet us.
Have you ever been head over heels for somebody, and you take any chance you can get to steal that person away from the crowd? If God is love, then maybe he longs for a few minutes of silence with us. It was during the Samaritan woman’s time alone with Jesus at the local well that she discovered that God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The light of Christ illuminated all of her, including the truth that she had been in and out of relationships with many men, but in that light was unconditional love.
Silence is very unsettling, especially for me, a person who enjoys flashy, vibrant noise. When I turn the music off, when all my friends go home for break, when I have watched every movie in my collection, and beaten every video game I own then I have myself to keep me company. I find myself alone with my thoughts, desires and prejudices. However, it is God who desires to fellowship with us in silence. It is when we are still that He longs to tell us the truth about our situation, to speak, “Let there be light.” It is then that we proclaim to all of our friends, “Come, see a man who knows everything I’ve ever done and still wants to be in relationship with me.”
If we are to give God a few moments of our silence, imagine the many miles that He will give us in return. Jesus does not require silence in return for his love, but if it is something that will help my relationship with Him, why not pause? And what could be more eloquent than the silence of an abandoned college town as a background for spending time with my Creator?