My wife knows more than anyone else that I often like to hike being as quiet as possible. I travel slowly and softly, looking and listening at the silence around me. I enjoy examining the subtleties of nature. I am always hoping to find something that's a little more than obvious, like an elk or moose. But all too often they hide quite well in the stillness of the forest and all that I am left with is the silence. What a treasure that is to be left with!

It feels good for my ears to hear nothing except squirrels walking, deer feeding or a bird landing on a branch 40 feet away. Silence is truly golden. The soft sounds that seep slightly above silence are soothing to my ears. More importantly, as I walk along the forest floor, I often praise God in my spirit. I commonly rest on a rock beside a lake or on the slope of a mountain to pray, journal and read my Bible. In the silence of those places God speaks.

It seems our iPod-riddled culture has truly forgotten what it is like to be silent. We almost always have the stereo or the TV on. And worse, so many people take their noise with them in their iPods or personal listening devices. I have even seen people wearing headphones on trails in national parks. Yuk!

God speaks to us in the silence. David said that he waited in silence for God (Psalm 62:5). Jesus often sought the Father in the silence of the wilderness (Luke 5:16), as did others in the Bible. Today we run from silence. Joshua Birk wrote that "Noiselessness is so unsettling because ... we are afraid of the answers that might pounce on us." He goes on to say, that venturing into silence "is both counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. Yet it makes perfect sense to a God who loves to speak in whispers to make sure we are listening" (

So why is this culture so afraid of "noiselessness" and the answers it might bring? Why is it counter-intuitive for us today? Can it be that in our media-overloaded society we have just forgotten what it is like to experience the joy of silence? Sure, maybe it's not practical for most people to go off into the wilderness these days, but most can go for a walk in a park. A good habit I like to practice is leaving the radio off in the car or anytime I'm alone. How about leaving the TV off? Or try this one: leave the iPod in a drawer, and let God speak in the quiet moments of your day.

Why are we so afraid of "noiselessness"?