Hearing God in Desert Silence

How to Hear God in a Noisy World: Enjoy a Feast of Silence

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Gordon Hempton, The Sound Tracker and a world renowned acoustic ecologist states, “silence is an endangered species,” meaning that there are few truly quiet places left in the world. You may shrug at that and snug up your ear buds and rock on. But Hempton warns, “. . . silence is not a luxury, but it’s essential.”  Hempton defines silence not as a sound free environment but rather a noise free one. And that defines our modern world. Noisy! Yet silence fosters deep thinking, rest, sleep, unjangled nerves, peace, a sense of rightness. It’s in silent, desert places where Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many have finally heard the voice of God. Is it no wonder that we struggle to hear God in our noise polluted world?

Noise Drowns out Hearing God

In 2013 I wrote a poem after a Lenten feast of silence in which I did not listen to radio or watch tv for a full year. I found that the quietest place on earth can be a heart focused on and filled with Christ. It was life giving and below is the poem I wrote in response to that delicious time of quiet. 

Listening for God

A Feast of Silence

In silence time passes less swift and mechanical for you cannot hear its deadly tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

In silence ideas fly free as chickadees, flitting from one bare branch to another, leaving imagination in their wake.

In silence loneliness lurks, waffle-soled boots—mud covered—leaving indentations and scuffs on my heart.

In silence words and stories climb out of their caves and sit in front of me like blinking children woken from fabulous dreams.

In silence I hunger for the sweet voice, familiar, resonant, of the one I love. 

In silence questions pry up the rocky places in my soul and leave them bare, tender, trembling for answers.

In silence memories wander back up the trail, slapping me on the back, bidding me good day, treating or troubling me according to their given names.

In silence dreams roll over white and billowy and laden dragging dark bottoms.

In silence fear scrabbles up my legs.

In silence freedom like a wind drives impossibilities before it leaving only windswept possibilities.

In silence I hear my own beating heart, the rushing of my own breath, the ticking of my own clock asking, “Is . . . There . . . Someone . . . Out . . . There?”

In silence I feel His voice fill the empty space.  Yes.

Published in The Edge of Faith magazine 2018

More on Silence

Listening to God: A Matter of Life and Death and The Wonder of Lent

8 thoughts on “How to Hear God in a Noisy World: Enjoy a Feast of Silence”

  1. Georgie Ann Kettig

    silence is a gift,… and silence can be more “fullness” than “emptiness”,…

    (btw ~ I’m not sure why, but Word is looking for identification from me, in order to read your other suggested articles,… apparently, it doesn’t recognize my email address,… ? )

      1. Georgie Ann Kettig

        silence is nourishing,…

        silence is steadying,…

        silence finds deeper realms,…

        silence is balancing,…

        silence even “speaks” to us,…


  2. Dianna Munier

    Silence…complete Silence…is where I hear the heartbeat of my loving heavenly Father…the heartbeat of His heart created by Him placed within me…Silence…a most heartfelt precious time between Him and I.
    -His handmaid

    1. Dianna: I remember you and Dean well and fondly. It is good to hear from you. Thank you for reading and for your comment. Silence allows God room.

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