Lessons Learned in Silence School (Part 4)

As I pursued this strange silence with an insatiable hunger and a knawing fear, I disappeared behind a strange, but wonderful veil. Veils were designed to hide beauty from leering eyes and intimate places from unwanted visitors. This veil I discovered was never erected to keep us out, but rather as a personal invitation to enter. No one who enters this veil does so by force or manipulation. It parts only for the one who passionately hungers for the presence of God. You see, the soothing silence is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—God must be the final destination of my starving heart. Otherwise, the silence that I find is only the absence of noise, not the presence of God.

Behind this veil, or as the Scriptures so elegantly put it—under His wings, is a hidden place to rest—to cease that daily struggle we all endure. It is only here, away from the unreal expectations, the unwanted demands, and the incessant deadlines, that you or I can find a place to be still. Now this trip may be in a quiet retreat, a closet, at lunchtime, or on a crowded bus. The location is not as important as the destination. For it is here the truth of Psalm 46:10 is discovered and internalized. God says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will…”

Stillness insures a silence deep within our spirit. Once our spirit is still, the soul and body will follow, although their required attendance may come with a bit of kicking and screaming. But once you’ve found this place of passion and presence, the material and immaterial you will have found its purpose for creation. This peaceful spot behind the veil is much like the Garden of Eden our human parents walked in so long ago.

Let me share what I have discovered here. It is a place of experience. The Hebrew word is yada, which means to experience in the fullest sense. God desires intimacy with you and with me. He knows us, yet He wants to know us. We hunger to know Him, but fear what it might cost. That cost has already been absorbed by Christ.

It is occasionally a place of conversation and we will deal with that later. But, it is often a profound place of silence. It is a place to gaze and be gazed at. It is a place to admire His beauty and to be admired because of our beauty. Intimacy is a mutual enjoyment by two friends of each other. Nothing is demanded, yet all is given. It is possible for two intimate friends to know each other so well that the only conversation is the antiphonal beating of their hearts. God enjoys the silence far more than you do. For in that soothing silence dawns the full experience of knowing and being known without regret, or fear, or a thousand other things we’ve been mistakenly taught in Sunday School, catechisms, and religious traditions.

Lesson #4: There is a place if you search for it with all your heart under God’s wings where you can passionately experience relationship to its fullest extent. Conversation is optional, but the fulfillment of knowing His presence is insured. It’s all about destination, not location.