Silence is something no one really wants. I think the silence most people are afraid of in the world or think they are facing is God’s silence. Because we get so caught up in our technology and schedules, we assume that God is the one who is ignoring us, instead of the other way around. However, when you seek God in the silence…you’ll find out that He was never silent after all. He is right here ready to speak to us in every trial or triumph. We are the ones who are just not listening. Open your eyes to the world. Treasure nature. See God in it. Go outside and sit in that silence. You’ll find that the earth itself is actually never silent. Inside our homes with our thick walls and windows it can appear that when we turn off the music and television that the world is truly silent around us. We don’t like it. But the truth is that there is no real silence. We simply close our doors to the sounds of the universe. When you go outside and really just soak it all in and be “silent”, you will see that true silence does not exist. There’s a slight wind that plays with the leaves. The crinkle is faint but audible. A chipmunk scurries somewhere in the undergrowth and rustles the bushes. Birds hold conversations we don’t understand. A lot is happening that we don’t see with our eyes. But it is happening. A lot is happening that we don’t hear indoors with our ears, but it is still happening. Just because we accidentally shut our doors to God’s voice by filling the “silence” with TV, music, texting, and social media, does not mean HE is silent. He is still working. Still right outside the doors we build both physically and mentally. In the same way, nature is always at work in one way or another, even in the ways we don’t see or hear. But dismissing it as silent based on our failure to see and hear past our locked doors and blind covered windows makes no sense.
Another thing we do to nature, like we often do to God, is take it for granted. His existence can become common knowledge sometimes, especially when you grow up in a church all your life. Just like the flowers in your backyard that don’t seem as extravagant anymore because you see them everyday, we become oblivious to God. However, we DO start to notice the flowers when they change…when they start to wilt. But God does not wilt. We do. In this analogy, instead of shutting ourselves to the nature around us, we become like the nature itself. We get so caught up in growing ourselves in the world that we forget who put us in the ground in the first place…who watered us to make us grow… From there, we start to get unhappy. We look at ourselves and start seeing flaws that make us less desirable than the other plants in the garden. “Why are my petals less bright than theirs? Why are their branches more plentiful than mine?” Then we look at the ground around us and wonder why it is not perfectly green. “WHY was I planted here? Of all places!” When our conditions change from green pastures to dirt patches, we begin to get irritated with life. We wonder what happened and why we were placed in certain situations that make things difficult. The ground starts to feel uneven. It is then, when we begin to wilt under our anxieties that the overly intense sunlight of the world starts to bleach us out of seeing the purpose of our existence. It is then that we look around for the One who planted us. We come back to The Creator. The Gardener. We realize that we need watering. We often think that the rain the world gives us will be enough. It’s not. The compliments. The achievements. The money. The sex. We think it will be enough water to grow us up and keep us healthy, happy, and strong. But the truth is that these are only rain DROPS. With our leaves slowly drooping towards the ground, the realization is made that the things we thought were enough to sustain us were not enough. We need some real water that lasts. And not just rain drops of it, but RIVERS of it. From The One that always will. We need Living Water. We need Jesus. Here is a little excerpt from the Bible that explains this better than I can:
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:4-15)
In essence, we are all a lot like this woman. We want something that will keep us from becoming “thirsty” again. We want to stop drawing from a well of social media and the opposite sex each day to make it through. Sometimes it feels like drawing from that well of the world is the only way to gain bits and pieces of an enjoyable life. In this analogy though, it is not a well we are speaking of- but tiny raindrops we try our best to catch with our leaves. But what happens when our leaves wilt as I mentioned before? We no longer have the strength to catch the raindrops anymore. We need a gardener to give the water to us because we are not strong enough to grow on our own anymore. However, there is a certain beauty to this state of desperation and decay. It is during this period of undeniable need for the Living Water that we begin to break the “silence”. We start to reach our petals towards God with all we have left in us and His hand swoops down and starts healing us. There never actually was silence- just our refusal to listen and reach out. It’s partly a pride thing. We think we can do it-grow ourselves on our own just fine. However, no matter how beautiful a plant has the POTENTIAL to be, it will never get there unless it is properly watered and maintained by a gardener. People are the same way. However, God is our gardener, not a human. He cares for you. And even though we often try to go it alone for long periods of time, which often results in our forgetfulness of Him, He will always be there to hold you close again when you reach for Him during the breakdown…when your leaves lie motionless on the scorched earth. Seek God in these times and He will pour His Living Water into your heart until the end of time…so that you may have life eternally. His love is never silent. However, your choice to reach and accept it is the difference between a life of hoping and a life of coping.
But here’s the hard part to accept. He may not lift you out of the ground and replant you somewhere else. The ground around you may stay uneven or even barren. However, what is often forgotten is that this does not matter if God is your gardener. See, you don’t need to have a perfect life to be happy or to live a fulfilling life. You can be a daisy in the desert. He put you where you are for a specific reason. We can either complain about the world around us or we can keep growing with Living Water sustaining us. God is the gardener that can grow beautiful things from ANY type of soil. In ANY type of weather. That’s right- He can keep you growing through a hurricane, a snowpocalypse (yes Atlanta I am speaking to you), or a dustbowl. So what does this all really mean?
Let’s put it into perspective. You are not actually a plant. We all understand that. But you are a human being that needs watering. You need a gardener to take care of you. Just like plants, we really can’t move ourselves. A sunflower may grow towards the sunlight, but it cannot change where its roots are. It cannot pick itself up and move to a new location simply because it is stuck in the shade. A gardener can though. And even if He doesn’t move you, He can sustain you. He keeps you ROOTED in Him if you believe and seek Him. You can gain strength from any trial or tribulation with God at your side keeping you rooted in His love. He is never silent. Neither is nature. And neither are you. Don’t close your doors to God when He “seems” silent. He’s not. Don’t try to grow without the only Living Water that can sustain you. The temporary rain drops of the world that satisfy for a moment are not enough to keep you growing. They just aren’t. If wealth and worldly achievements were really the key to a happy life, then why do so many people who seemingly “have it all” remain unhappy? Unless you have that Living Water, life will always feel dry…because nothing is keeping you rooted to the ground where the nutrients lie.