Silence was a common occurrence when I was a little girl. High on a shelf in the kitchen was the solitary radio. In the mornings a colorful neighborhood lady recording from a closet-turned-recording-studio reported the local news. Later in the day, the dial would be turned to Christian radio station broadcast. On good reception days Mom would listen to “The Heaven and Home Hour” and “Back to the Bible Broadcast.” After delivering the mid-afternoon lunch out to the field where Dad was working, Mom tuned in to “The Adventures of the Sugar Creek Gang”. Her dad had bought her most of the series when her mom had died on her twelfth New Year’s Eve.
Saturday morning children’s programming, Aunt Bee and the Children’s Bible Hour accompanied cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast. If you ever listened to it you can still probably hear the “Tell me a story, tell me a story, tell me a story, Aunt Bee….”. “Unshackled” produced by Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago would play its heart-wrenching theme while we began supper preparations late Saturday afternoon.
But most of the time, the silence was broken only by my mom’s whistling, snippets of conversation, the swishing agitator of the double tub wringer/washing machine, noises of chickens, pigs, or cattle.
Have you ever done a noise inventory? Consider the common everyday sounds for each decade of your life. Which sounds do you remember? Music, songs, groups, singers? Outdoor sounds? Voices? Recordings?
Was there a time in your life that you heard God’s voice?
I think of the story of Elijah in I Kings 19:11-13 when God speaks not in the wind, not in the earthquake and not in the fire, but in the still calm breeze.
Catharine Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel wrote the words to the great hymn “Be Still, My Soul” sometime in the early 1700’s. Set to the beautiful tune “Finlandia” it has inspired Christians throughout the centuries. Eric Liddell, gold medal Olympic runner in 1924 was challenged by this hymn.
While not all the verses are commonly printed in our hymnals, the meaning and comfort in them makes them rich for quiet listening to the voice of God.
Be Still My Soul
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.