“For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalm 62:5, NRSV)
Every day comes with distractions, and it's only getting worse. There are compelling and competing demands on our time and attention. It's not just the amount of information available to us but the overwhelming variety and nature of that information. In the documentary "The Social Dilemma," former executives and employees of social media giants express their regret for their role in drawing people into online engagement at the expense of personal interaction. Social media has many benefits, including helping us maintain contact with distant friends, but it has also led to less "real-time" and "up close" interaction with those who are near. As with everything, there are good and bad outcomes with social media.
With these distractions in mind, the Psalmist's words are instructive, comforting, and full of hope. The Psalmist directs us to spend time alone listening to God and looking to him not only as our hope but as our only hope. It is tempting to look to others or to other things to fill the role of savior. There is nothing except for the love and grace that God gives that provides any possibility of our salvation. Focusing in silence on him is a call to set aside the distractions of the day and listen intently for God's voice. This spiritual practice takes discipline and commitment, especially since our remote controls or smartphones are always at hand.
We can't expect our first attempts at quietly listening for God's voice will go well from the start. Settling into the silence takes time, as it's hard to turn off the millions of thoughts racing through our heads. With practice, we can begin to silence the "noise" of our lives and make space for God to speak to us. As I indicated in my sermon last week, God most frequently speaks to us through an inner voice that requires us to discern what is from God and what is merely our subconscious thoughts. God's voice brings peace and confidence. If we find ourselves anxious in any way, then it might be our subconscious speaking. The more we practice silence in the presence of God, the better we will get at discerning God's voice.
The hope that comes through sitting in God's presence is not just for us alone. Our sitting with God provides hope for all those within our circle of influence and the entire world. The more we tap into time spent in God's presence, the better equipped we are to deal with the rest of the noise of our lives—the noise in the news, in our spirits, and our relationships. There is no hope apart from the hope we have in God through the Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Discover that hope through waiting in silence.