The sound of silence is growing at our house as our children are becoming young adults. One of the things I sometimes miss is the sound of their voice - the giggles and sad cries and squeals of delight when they were little. Come to think of it, there are other voices I miss as well, like that of a mentor who has gone on to heaven or a friend who has moved to another part of the country. Sometimes I think of my grandmother and wonder what she would say if we could sit down together for coffee in the afternoon.
While I am not sure what my mentor, friend, or grandmother would say, I can still hear their voice - not the quality of tenor or bass but of character. I can hear their joy. I can hear their peace. I can hear their gentleness.
As that sound of silence has been ringing out, I have been growing close to another friend. He is connected with all my loved ones. His voice can be like a whisper or the roaring sea. But like the voice of my mentor, friend, and grandmother, His voice matches who He is. His name is Jesus.
I suspect that those who were with him while he was here on earth, remember the words he said to them after he died and rose again. When he returned to them after his resurrection, he said. “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19, 21,26) This is what his voice sounds like and feels like - peace. If you hear a whining, nagging, or agitated voice - that’s not his. His voice is pure, peaceful, gentle, friendly, and full of compassion. His voice is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
We need a voice of peace these days. Maybe you are hearing the sound of silence. Maybe you want to cover your ears as the volume of the reality of life blares out at you. As the Psalmist says, we will pass through the Valley of Baca: a dry place without water - a place of difficulty and suffering. It might be loud. But as we keep going through our own valleys, the psalmist also tells us that the autumn rains will come. (Ps 84:6)
There’s something about an autumn rain - it’s wetter, it’s more.
A summer rain can be refreshing.
A spring rain can be renewing.
But an autumn rain sinks in like a tired child in her mother’s lap.
An autumn rain gets into the leaves that have fallen and seems to remain.
An autumn rain gets into the grass and soil and remains wet and muddy.
You cannot easily forget the effect of an autumn rain.
There is something about Jesus’ voice. You cannot easily forget the quality of his voice. The sound of his voice is like “a spirit of exalted peacefulness and confidence of joy, of sweet reasonableness and of goodwill”* It comes like an autumn rain and restores our soul.
As we are with Jesus and learn to hear his voice, something happens within us - something sinks in. While we may not always be fully aware of it at the moment, looking back, we can see we are going from strength to strength with Him. (Ps 84: 7)
Just as he called out to his friends, Jesus calls out to us saying, “Peace be with you.” This peace is also strong: it will protect you and guard your heart. (Phil 4:7). As we are with him and hear his voice, we are strengthened. May his voice get into us.
*Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God