Study to be quiet. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (KJV)
Like many perimenopausal women, my friend often awakes in the middle of the night out of a sound sleep and cannot return to slumber. She tosses and turns hoping to drift off again, but finds Satan likes to use the dark hours of the night to unwind the newsreels of her past life. Her bed becomes a moving picture show as her mind recalls all her past mistakes and failures, her addictions, wants and cravings. In an attempt to turn off her brain, she leaves her bed to browse Facebook or other websites only to find that the only other people on line at that hour are crazies or other perimenopausal women which some might say are one in the same. She realized what a time sucking waste that is so decided with the New Year that when sleeplessness comes, she will read instead. She is a collector of old books. Most bought in thrift stores, but all with a Christian theme. Some are old theology books. Some devotions. Some prayers. Though from a different era with often quaint and stylized language, they all lead her back to the One who can stop the grief over her past and her fretting over the future. One night, she picked up Leslie Weatherhead’s book, The Significance of Silence. Weatherhead who lived in London composed a series of sermons during World War II. Despite the tumultuous times with war, bombing and chaos surrounding him, Weatherhead wrote about the importance of being silent and listening for God’s voice. It struck my friend that she was avoiding the quiet because it had become something to fear. She filled her life with activity and surrounded herself with entertainment to avoid being alone and afraid. Yet, God wanted to use those exact times to speak to her. As she read, the words struck her with a certainty that they were written for her. She described it as if a bolt of lightning entered her room. Not only grabbing her attention, but illuminating her mind. Weatherhead said that if we listen carefully, God’s voice can be heard like a very distant train quietly approaching until the sound is so clear it pierces our hearts. It is in the times of silence that we most closely come to know God. She read it over and over several times and prayed. “God, I want to know you.” Then, out of the darkness came the sound of a train whistle. Some might think of it as coincidence, but she does not. You see, there are no train tracks near her house. No trains run in the dark of night. She has never heard that sound, and may never again. Now, whenever she begins to feel that anxiety build or that lust for something to fill her heart that she knows will only leave her empty and unsatisfied, she runs to her Heavenly Father. Closing her eyes, she remembers that long, lonely train whistle. But, she is not lonely or afraid anymore.