The Song In The Silence

Thursday, June 23, 2016
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Listen while you read: "Like A River Glorious"1 (Lyrics)

Have you ever found yourself listening to something — maybe you've heard it many times before — and noticing something entirely new and unexpected? I had that experience on a recent Sunday. We were singing Hymn of Promise, written by Natalie Sleeth, which many people know by its first line: "In the bulb there is a flower". I can't even guess how many times I've sung that hymn, or heard it sung by others. I know the words almost by heart. And yet, on this particular Sunday, I was taken by surprise.

The second verse of the hymn begins, "There's a song in every silence". As soon as we sang that line, I was struck! I was reminded of the Bible story in which Elijah is told to expect to see God, and he finally finds the Lord, not in calamity or noise, but in silence:

1 Kings 19:11-12 – He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. (NRSV)

Isn't that amazing? That God, Who could speak with us in any other way, chose to speak to Elijah through silence. Other translations refer to it as "a still small voice" or "a gentle whisper". That's another surprise, that the all-powerful and mighty God would choose to speak through a still, small voice. No wonder we need to be quiet in order to hear!

Ours is a busy, noisy world, full of earthquakes, wind, and fire. Our job is not to let the noise distract us, but to look over, under, around, and through the noise, until we can find a place of peace and quiet — a place of silence. It is in that silence that we have an opportunity to hear the voice of God, that gentle whisper, speaking and singing into our hearts.

Prayer: Loving God, thank You for being a part of our lives. Thank You for Your gentle voice that guides us, lifts us, and nurtures us. We pray that we would be ever more mindful of that voice, more open to Your nudging and prompting, and more accepting of Your words for us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Scott Williams <>
Madoc, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great reminder Scott. Thanks for sharing.

    Embrace d still silent voice to talk to you.

    Scott, thanks for the reminder that God is in the silences. Blessings.

    Wow, Scott! Truly a blessing to read your devotional today! Many thanks.

    Beautifully written. It is so true what you say: noise. Amen to your prayer.

    Lovely devotional. Beautiful message. Thank you, for the reminder of His presence.

    Thank you – will use this to re-illustrate one of our Bible readings from last Sunday.

    Scott – Thanks for this pleasant devotional-it has brought me peace.
    (California USA)

    Thank you Scott for this good reminder this morning! Just what I needed to hear. And may God continue to bless you and inspire you as you write devotions for us to read.

    Scary amazing I had just talked to my son and told him I was having so many concerns that I was unraveling….that is how I was feeling. Reading your devotional was the next thing I did and what a blessing that has been the prayer, the whole writing is a help. Thank you Scott.

    HI Scott,
    Forever from now on I will think of your devotional when we sing “that” hymn. Thank you for your reflection and devotional contribution. What a good reminder to really “hear” the words we sing.

    Hi Scott,
    Thank you for your devotional this morning. In the “Bulb there is a flower” is one of the favorite hymns at the Local Long Term Care Centre when I lead in worship there. Thank you for reminding us how important silence is at times.

    Hi Scott,
    This is very well put. Thanks.

    Thanks Scott for your devotional.
    How true it is that we live in a noise-filled society and it’s tricked into our church sanctuaries as well.
    We need to shut up and listen to the Lord more!

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