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April 24, 2014- 12:58pm
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Are you afraid of silence? Some people seem to be. They talk constantly as if they are afraid that if they were to remain quiet for just a moment, an awkward, overbearing silence would take over. Or, they may be afraid of what someone else has to say, so they don’t give them a chance. We perpetrate the problem by laughing it off, calling it “the gift of gab.” If it is a gift, it is certainly not from God, because His Word directs us otherwise.

James warns that we should “. . . be quick to listen, and slow to speak or to get angry.” (James 1:19) The world is headed the opposite direction from God’s truth. It is not enough that our national media pay high prices for people to talk -- just talk -- many times about subjects they know nothing about, but lately they seem to be getting panels together for the same reason. We see it especially in sports coverage that several on a panel will begin expressing their opinions, and they all begin talking at the same time. At that point, I turn it off or switch the channel. It is hard enough to listen to one person spout opinions contrary to the truth, but it is impossible to even hear what some are saying when they all talk at once.

One fact the teaching profession has learned from years of experience is that the more you say, the less people hear. Another thing I’ve learned from years of teaching in church classes is that when I am speaking, I cannot hear someone else. How important a lesson that is when it comes to our prayer life, the vital link in our relationship with the Lord. How can I hear from God if I am always speaking? Just why am I always speaking? Do I go on and on constantly telling God what I want, so that I don’t have to hear what He wants? Am I afraid of what He might say?

How do I hear from God, you ask? Granted, He doesn’t always speak to us audibly, but we need to cultivate the ability to hear God. Over and over the Bible declares to us, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith. . .” If God instructs us often to hear what the Spirit has to say, then it certainly must be possible to do so. When you hear someone’s voice on the phone often enough, you soon know who it is even before they identify themselves. Hearing God is the same. As you listen for His voice more and more, you will become acquainted with it. You learn when and how He speaks to you.

We usually don’t “hear” God with our physical “ears,” though that is not totally unheard of. We must listen with our heart. As we read the Word of God, as we hear good sermons, and as we listen to inspired music, we can tune our heart’s ear to the eternal truths that God wants us to hear. But one of the most important things we can do is close our mouths and be quiet in His presence. Don’t be afraid of silence. Don’t be afraid of solitude. Those are perfect times to “hear” what the Spirit of God is saying to you.

-- Dean St. Cyr

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