Since the old year will soon transition to the new year, this is a great time to reflect on our lives so far and how we hope to change them going forward. It’s also a time of uncertainty that can discourage us, unless we’re intentional about centering ourselves in what never changes — God’s love for us — in the middle of uncertain circumstances. Spending time in silent reflection (through prayer or meditation) empowers us to discover something ironic: silence actually speaks.
What comes through in the middle of silence is God’s voice, which the Bible describes in 1 Kings 19:12 as a “still small voice” or as a “gentle whisper.” It’s an incredibly powerful voice — but quiet enough to inspire us to listen carefully for it. God doesn’t shout at us above the noise of our lives. Instead, he motivates us to pay attention to his messages by speaking constantly in a loving way that we have to care enough to seek out. Silent reflection is like tuning our ears and minds into God’s frequency that has been broadcasting all along.
One winter day seven years ago, I heard God’s whispering voice while taking a silent prayer walk and wrestling with great uncertainty. My husband Russ needed a lifesaving kidney transplant and a great guy from our church had volunteered to donate a kidney to him. Right before the surgery was scheduled, however, the plans fell apart. That unexpected change made it a real possibility that I’d be a widowed single parent sometime soon.
God didn’t answer any of my questions that I asked on that walk, but in the midst of my uncertainty, he did something else: He sent me a powerful sense of peace. I didn’t know what my future held, but I did know that I could trust God, no matter what. When worry crept into my life (as it often did) after that walk, silent prayer and meditation centered my soul back into the place where I could receive God’s peace again.
Thankfully, a few months later Russ underwent a successful kidney transplant thanks to another hero from our church who made the lifesaving gift. But even before I knew what would happen, I felt at peace, because God met me in the silence and spoke just enough for me to renew my trust in him.
Whatever scary uncertainty you’re facing right now, I hope you’ll make some time to reflect on it during silent prayer or meditation and listen for God’s response. Even in silence, he has something to say to you.