In a fast-paced, affluent, urbanite society like Singapore, many suffer from anxiety attacks, restlessness and sleeplessness.
Mental and emotional health have of course become a major concern amongst Singaporeans and much resources have been ploughed into finding solutions to this condition.
Yet, we need not look elsewhere because Christian spirituality has a simple solution all this while – the practice of silence and stillness. A famous account of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament perhaps best illustrates this.
For reasons not told, Elijah became depressed and fearful when the evil Israelite queen Jezebel threatened to kill him after his defeat of the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah on Mt Carmel. Elijah fled from Jezebel and came to Horeb the mountain of God, exhausted and depressed.
When God appeared to Elijah, He told him to stand and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. Yet God did not come in ways that we would expect: He was not in the great and powerful wind that tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks; neither was He in the earthquake or fire that ensued.
Instead, God revealed himself to Elijah in a “gentle whisper” which can also be translated as “a sound of sheer silence”. Author, Peter Scazzaro noted that, “The silence after the chaos, for Elijah and for us, is full of the presence of God.”
Like Elijah, many of us need to rediscover God’s gift of silence in our life. Bombarded by stimulants throughout the day, it is easy to lose ourselves because it has become increasingly difficult to hear God’s voice.
Let us learn to stand and wait like Elijah, because God also wants to speak to us through the sound of sheer silence. In response to this article, would you think of a way to practice silence and stillness in your life this week?
Rev. David Lee