The Sound of Silence

When I was pregnant with my very first daughter, my husband and I prayed the normal prayers of soon-to-be parents.  We asked God for her health, her character, her faith, and her future.

I threw in a prayer asking that she be a good eater and sleeper. The Bible says we can ask, right?

Then we bowed our heads together and prayed something truly bold. We asked that God would entrust us with a child who had something different than us—a talent, passion or personality trait that set her apart from her mom and dad.

After that prayer, we thought we’d give birth to an athletic superstar. I imagined soccer practices and track meets far into my future life as a mom.

God, however, rarely fits into the boxes we create for Him.

As she grew older, we realized that she was no sports prodigy.  Yet we’ve discovered many ways that she’s different from us—how she’s such a people person and how she spends hours on art projects and how she loves to be fancy.

Still, there’s one way God answered our prayer that I absolutely can’t miss.

God gave my daughter the heart of a dancer.

We don’t understand this.  I never in a million years expected to be a ballet mom.

My husband and I didn’t even slow dance at our own wedding, not because of some super-spiritual anti-dance philosophy.  It’s because we . . . . can’t. . . . dance.  At all.

Victoria, however, puts on a ballet performance at outdoor concerts along the beach and to the soundtrack of every movie we watch in our home.

She also dances at church.

That, my friends, is the rub.  The first time she pointed her toe and began stepping out of her pew to dance to the worship music at church, my palms grew sweaty with nervousness, which is kind of a problem when you’re the church pianist.

I know what Scripture says.

Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!  Psalm 149:3

 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!  Psalm 150:4

Still, while I agree that dancing is part of the Biblical description of worship, I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about my daughter being the dancer.

After all, this isn’t just a gentle swaying to the music.  She throws her head and her arms back and swirls, twirls, and pirouettes.  It’s total abandon and absolute passion.  She’s not ashamed or afraid to dance for God.

When we arrived home after her first praise dancing session, I chatted with her about it.  I hinted that it might be better to stand still and try to sing the songs, just like everybody else.

She stared at me for a moment.  Then she announced:

“The Bible says we should dance for God.
I’m dancing to make Him happy and Jesus likes it.
I think it makes Him smile when I dance.”

Alrighty then!

After being put in my place and given a Bible lesson by my five-year-old daughter, I really didn’t have anything else to say.

Most of the time, after all, silence is the only appropriate response to unmistakable truth.

This is difficult for me because I’m an excuse maker and a justifier.  If you tell me I shouldn’t have done that, I’ll give you 20 reasons why it was necessary.  I feel the need to explain myself all the time.

It’s the people-pleaser in me, hoping to convince others through my combative defensiveness that I was right, even when I was wrong.  Because I don’t want to be wrong, not ever.  I don’t want to mess up, not at any time.

Life would be so much easier for me if I was just perfect.

When God speaks truth to us, our response shouldn’t be excuses and explanations.  It should be the humble bowing of the head and the submissive silence of repentance.  Because we’re not perfect, not any of us.

Even the Pharisees knew that arguing with Jesus was impossible.  When He challenged them on issues of healing, the Sabbath, resurrection, and faith, “they were silent” (Mark 3:4, Luke 14:4).

Later on in the early church, Peter presented his case in favor of Gentile believers to the Jerusalem church elders.  When he finished reminding them of Scripture, his own personal testimony, and the evidence of faith they’d seen as Christianity spread, “they fell silent.  And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18, ESV).

Then there’s Job.  For forty chapters, Job and his friends had debated about God, discussed, dialogued, and orated.  They had yapped and yapped.

Then God showed up.  He finally decided to speak up for Himself.  Job “answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer You?  I lay my hand on my mouth.  I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:3-5, ESV). 

The truth stings sometimes, I know it.  It requires that we admit mistakes and demands we take the often difficult steps to change.

But He’s a gracious and merciful God, who only speaks truth to us because He loves us.  So, instead of arguing with Him, let’s choose to place our hands over our mouths and bow our heads in silent obedience. Like Samuel, we say, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

6 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

    • Heather C. King says:

      This makes me so happy! Isn’t it so true that it just takes one person to break the mold and be brave enough to worship freely (no matter what anyone else thinks), and that encourages others to be free, as well?!

  1. Marie Auker says:

    Oh if placing our hands over our mouths was easy!!!
    I remember the first time I read the book of Proverbs. What I came away with was, “Just shut your mouth!”

  2. Lynn Holt says:

    And what a great dancer she is. I love watching her and would love to attend a recital of hers sometime if the timing would work out for me to go. What a gift God has given her!

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