A couple years ago we put on a student ministry event at the church where we did a “silent disco” with the students. If you are unfamiliar with the idea, a silent disco is like any normal dance but everyone is wearing their own pair of headphones (I know, very Gen-Z). In the room there are a few different radio receivers that you can customize for whatever you want to listen to. For example, we had three different receivers so students could hit a switch on their headphones to listen to poppy dance songs, singalong Disney, or hip-hop. It was also fun because a light on your headphones indicated what you were listening to. So, if you had a blue light and someone else had an orange light, you could tell them to switch their headphones to blue so you could be jamming out to the same song. It was so fun. Sometimes you’ve just gotta dance your heart out.
One of the funnier aspects of the silent disco (besides seeing a bunch of middle schoolers flex their best moves with wild abandon) is when you, while the dancing is still going on, take your headphones off. You’ve got the volume on your headphones turned all the way up, you’re jamming out, then you decide to remove your headphones for a moment, and suddenly all you hear is the squeaking of shoes or a couple of students singing a mixture of Moana and the Jonas Brothers. It goes from very loud to very quiet in just a moment. It is hilarious to be in a room of so many people, having a grand ole time, and it be so quiet. Sometimes we want the loud music and we want the dance (and need it). Other times, we could use some quiet.
Our world is loud. Turn your phone’s ringer on for ten minutes and hear notification after notification interrupt your mind. Pick your social media poison to scroll through for 30 seconds before you find someone yelling about something and someone else yelling back either in defense or agreement. I wonder if many of our schedules can’t be broken down into something like this: music in the morning, podcast driving to work, meetings all day, radio on the way home, jeering and cheering in the stands at the game, TV on while we eat or get ready for bed, music or another podcast as we fall asleep. Maybe that is an exaggeration, but it might not be that far from the truth. I like music and podcasts as much as the next person, don’t get me wrong, but I wonder if sometimes we are drowning in all that noise. Of course, this isn’t to mention the internal noise of our souls and brains even if we are in a quiet room – nervous about that upcoming event, anxious over who knows what, not enough time in the day, “why would they say that,” the list goes on. It’s all so… loud.
We could use some quiet. The biblical authors know this about us. Throughout both testaments, different authors in different ways addressed the same issue: our loud world. In Exodus 14, Moses comforts the frightened and newly freed Hebrew slaves with this assurance: “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent [or still].” In the fourth Psalm, David recognizes our need for quiet introspection when he urges the Israelites “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” Of course, our Savior was the master at this, often drawing away from the noise of the crowds to desolate and quiet places simply for some time alone with Dad. If Jesus needed to quiet the noise every so often… surely we do too.
Recently, as I was reading through the minor prophets in my own quiet time, I came across this wonderful section in the book of Zephaniah. (which I know you were all reading just yesterday)
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD Your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”Zephaniah 3:16-17
Don’t miss that: “He will quiet you by his love.” Church, we could use some quiet.
Are you afraid? Sink into the quiet love of the Father.
Are you anxious? Breathe in the quiet peace of He who is mighty to save.
Are you lonely? Find comfort in the quiet company of your God, your closest friend.
Are you tired? Rest in the quiet arms of a King who holds all things.
Everything and everyone is busy right now. I get that. But maybe it’s time to take off whatever headphones you are wearing and welcome in our Creator’s quiet world. It is a beautiful place, and it has a lot to say.