10 Ways Your Soul Can Wait in Silence
A few years ago, I began to seriously question my place in ministry. I had been doing college ministry for nearly 15 years. Though I love college students, my heart for ministry was changed. My season of life changed too. I was a mother of two young children and was bouncing between campus and home. I began to wonder if my ministry needed to change or if I was even called to vocational ministry any more. I prayed for God’s guidance, but he was seemingly quiet. I felt frazzled and discontent as I tried to decipher an answer and “figure it out.”. In the midst of my inner turmoil, I heard God’s quiet voice telling me to wait.
I’ve never been very good at waiting. When gifts arrive in the mail, I want to immediately open them. I read the ending of books first. Even when relaxing, I am always doing something because I can’t stand sitting still. When God told me to wait, I was flustered. How in the world do I just wait in silence?
During this time, I studied Psalm 62. In this Psalm, David says:
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
Psalm 62: 5
I began to pray and search God’s Word for what it means for my soul to wait in silence.
David was crying out in a dire situation as he was being physically attacked by his enemies, but waiting in silence doesn’t require a dire situation. Our souls may be waiting in silence to hear an answer to prayer, make a decision, or seek God’s face-or it can simply be a practice for us to quiet our souls before God so we can simply be with him.
What does it mean for your soul to wait in silence? It’s an active passivity-a decision to trust God rather than to act immediately or try harder to create the outcome we desire. It is so difficult for us to because we live in a try-hard, take-action culture. Waiting in silence almost seems lazy to us, but the Psalms tell us it is essential to caring for souls and knowing God in a deeper way.
The Bible gives us several ways that our souls can wait in silence-here are 10 of them:
1. Psalm 62:8-Pour out your heart before God.
2. Matthew 11:29; Psalm 131- Take on Jesus’ yolk, not our own or anyone else’s.
3. Gal 5:22-23-Walk in the Spirit.
4. James 3:17-Seek the wisdom of God.
5. Luke 10:38-42-Make sitting at Jesus’ feet a priority.
6. Psalm 46:10-11- Cease striving and know he is God and will be exalted.
7. 1 Kings 19:11-13-Trust God’s gentle leading.
8. Prov 17:1-Embrace contentment.
9. Psalm 4:4-Meditate.
10. Job 37:14-Consider the Wonders of God.
I will be exploring each of these more as I study God’s word, so stay tuned.
A Daily practice of silence before the Lord
A discipline I’ve found helpful in waiting is to practice daily silence before the Lord. You can start small (2-5 minutes) and build up to more time as your soul requires. Daily silence before the Lord is exactly what it sounds like-sitting in silence and waiting to “hear” if the Holy Spirit has anything to tell you. Sometimes he speaks and sometimes he is silent. The purpose is not to get God to answer you (he can’t be manipulated!) but to practice listening to God.
If you’re like me and your brain is constantly distracted, you may be thinking, “There’s no way I can do that for even 5 minutes!” It’s not about doing it perfectly, but about practicing silence. It’s ok if you don’t get it perfect-our God is gracious! It helps me to set a timer so I’m not constantly checking the clock. It is also helpful if I bring a pen and paper so I can jot down any thought that comes to mind-this allows me to put it aside for later so it will not distract me in the moment.
On the days when I practice this discipline, my soul seems to be more at peace. There is something about being silent before the Lord that soothes our souls. It gives us permission to stop trying harder and simply sit with Jesus.
I waited for five years for God to clearly reveal my next steps in ministry. Now I am doing two things I am passionate about-writing and helping care for the souls of fellow ministry staff. God used the time of waiting to shore more of himself to me and to teach me that a period of waiting is not wasted. He taught me how to be content and faithful in the midst of waiting.
Waiting in silence is never a waste of time when we are waiting for the Lord. In the quiet, he liberates us from the noise of the world and opens our souls to know him more deeply.
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