5:00 AM: When God Was Silent

My eyes unbuttoned at 5:00 AM this morning, and would not for all my coaxing be buttoned back up. There was dew on my window. I knew if I got up I would be sleepy by 9:00 AM, and perhaps I still will. Who knows. I decided to go on a walk. The morning was all still and unbroken, save for the laughter and songs of the birds waking up. I could swear a murder of crows followed me, hopping from tree to tree crying hideously. But then, sometimes I am paranoid.

I kept finding myself peering around corners as though some foul being might follow me. Isn’t it odd to live with such a fear considering no foul being has ever come upon me in all my years of walking? One of my professors calls that “Mean World Syndrome.” He says it’s television’s fault. Perhaps he’s right.

I decided I would never enjoy my walk in an attitude of suspicion. The thought came to me: What if Jesus came to me on the road? In my current state at the time, I think I would have taken a suspect attitude, but then, Jesus almost always greeted people in a way that made them feel seen. What would Jesus say to me to make me feel seen? What would be my “I saw you under the tree, Nathanael,” or “You are right to say you have no husband?”

I thought to myself that if I could only see Jesus one time, and talk to him, it would satisfy and fortify my heart for a whole lifetime.

As the sun quietly crept up behind the cold earth, the landscape seemed to yawn and stretch its limbs. I could almost feel the trees living and breathing in the morning air. Everything took on a rosy hue. The mountains in their faithful stead were pink with the hazy light of the almost risen sun-- like great piles of play dough. The sparse morning clouds piled in the sky like great bunches of cotton candy. The grass glistened with dew. Daisies smiled up from ditches and driveways. It astounds me that morning breaks so beautifully every day. Even if no one witnesses it, it goes on being beautiful seemingly for the pleasure of itself.

Taken from the rapture of the morning, I felt a darkness cover my mind.

“God speak to me. What would you have to say to me?”

My mind became clouded as I pondered. Often, the loudness of my heart and life, and the quietness of God’s voice cause a tension.

Can’t He speak a little louder?

Finally, the sun burst over the horizon, bathing the trees on the hill beside me in a light like fire and gold, pouring through the silhouettes of pine needles.

I suddenly knew what God would say.

It wasn’t like a bolt of lightening, but as I watched the sun’s long beams begin to touch every tree top, I felt keenly that God would not say anything.

He would walk beside me, silently, watching the world He made sing with gladness for a new morning. I touched the tall wet grass and listened. As one of my favorite authors says: I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew what it was about.

Sometimes I have to laugh at my unassailable tendency to ask for the wrong things. I am like the lame man at the pool: Jesus, the Healer of all, asks me if I want to be well, and I complain that I can’t get in the magic pool on time (John 5.) Just like silly me. Lord, won’t you speak to me? I ask as the very sky I stand beneath shouts with exuberance of God’s there-ness. But, He is still there, causing the sun to rise, and the earth to sing every morning.

Truth be told, I sometimes wish He would speak more audibly.

But, then, don’t they say that 80% of communication is nonverbal? photo 3-1