A Time To Be Silent

Solomon was one of the wisest man who ever lived. He writes that there is a time for every event under heaven.In Ecclesiastes 3:7 the wise king writes these words:

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

That’s something most of us admit to getting wrong a lot of time! How often we leave someone who needs to hear about the Lord and we keep our mouths shut. How frequently we could have spoken a word of kindness and encouragement but say nothing instead. It was a time to speak and we come up empty!

Then there are those other times…

When my wife was in intense labor with our firstborn son, Jesse, I recall mentioning to her that it was the fulfillment of God’s word to  Eve “In pain you shall bring forth children.” Somehow what I thought was a great insight was less than a blessing to her. I guess mentioning the consequences of the curse didn’t exactly “minister” to her the way I thought it would! What a dope!

We do well to remember the words of Job who had gone through the most tragic and terrible losses one could imagine. He had lost his wealth and his health, his reputation and even the support of his own wife! Yet, beyond all his other losses, no doubt, was his shattered heart for his children who had all died the very same day in the same catastrophe.

When Job’s friends came to comfort him they at first simply said nothing because they saw how great his pain was. However, when they heard him agonize and verbalize, it was more than they could handle so they started to try to “comfort” him with wise counsel. All they did was pour salt on his open wounds.

Job replied: “O that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom.” (Job 13:5)

Often what hurting people need most is what’s hardest for us to do. Simply show up and shut up.

May the Lord help me do more of what He does all the time for me. Deeply care. Quietly listen.

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8 thoughts on “A Time To Be Silent

  1. This post speaks volumes to me. Silence is a powerful form of communication. As an RN there have been times when a patient’s emotional pain has been so deep that there are no words of comfort I can give. It’s time to just be a presence. How well I know this in my professional life but how often I struggle with it in my personal life. The Lord has allowed circumstances in my life to teach me the last few years when I should have been silent. It can be a hard lesson to learn. What seems to be the simplest response when we don’t know what to say is actually the most difficult. But silence and quiet listening speaks louder then any words. It’s so often all that’s needed.

  2. What a great reminder to “show up and shut up” when people are hurting. I know I appreciate the people in my life that can do that for me. I pray I can do that for others. Thank you.

  3. My family will be in Yosemite on Christmas Day this year and we will lay flowers on the Merced River that morning for that day celebrates the hope and comfort for all of us on this side of heaven. May He who knows all bring comfort and peace to your entire congregation at this tough time and may we be silent at the right times and stay close by this family as they grieve.

    Thinking of you all,

    One of His too

  4. I really needed to hear this, although I wish I had heard it yesterday. My friend found out her husband was cheating on her and I went on a mild rant on how awful his actions were to her and her family. Her response was “you’re not helping, though I know you mean well”. I should have just shut up and listened to her and comforted her with silence and love. Thank you Pastor Bob for helping me to open my eyes and shut my mouth!

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