1There's a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
2a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
a time for planting and a time for
uprooting what was planted,
3a time for killing and a time for healing,
a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
4a time for crying and a time for laughing,
a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
5a time for throwing stones
and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
6a time for searching and a time for losing,
a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
7a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
8a time for loving and a time for hating,
a time for war and a time for peace.
In the 1960's, the music group The Byrds recorded a song that became a huge hit called "Turn, Turn, Turn." Its lyrics, which come directly from Ecclesiastes 3, say, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3 is a great passage that would be well worth your time to read in its entirety.)
Today, we are looking at one particular line: "a time to be silent and a time to speak."
Do you have a friend who just dominates every conversation the two of you have? You sit and listen to all of his or her stories, thoughts, and rants, but, somehow, you are never given the opportunity to express your feelings and thoughts. It gets really frustrating, doesn't it?
Conversing is a two-way street. It involves talking, of course, but it also requires listening.
Prayer is supposed to be a conversation, too...a two-way street between you and God. We pray. We talk to God. We praise God for the beauty of creation and we thank God for all of our blessings. We ask God for guidance and for help. We say a lot of stuff to God. But do we ever hear God saying anything to us? If not, could it be that we simply aren't listening? Are we doing all the talking, not allowing God to say anything?
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is trying to hear the voice of God. A powerful wind comes, but God is not speaking in that. Then, there was an earthquake and a fire, but God was not speaking in either of those, either. Finally, Elijah heard God's voice in a gentle whisper. The point is that, while we might expect God to speak in huge, powerful ways, often the opposite is true. Often, God speaks in quiet and gentle ways. So if we're not listening for it, we may well miss it.
Extend your prayer time by five minutes--not for more talking to God, but for listening for God. Spend the time in silence. Create a better opportunity to hear the voice of God.
If today's devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.