The Sound of Silence

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.

Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”  Mark 13:32‭-‬37 ESV

For someone who has a strong  dislike of close spaces I’ve found myself, more than once, descending into darkness.  One particular cave, near the Grand Canyon stands apart for one notable distinction: the silence.

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.

After hurtling downward who knows how many hundreds of feet in a rickety old mining elevator we emerged into an enormous cavern about the length of a football field. Unlike other caves I had visited, this one was a dry cavern and lacked the trademark stalagmites and stalactites.

About halfway through our 45 minute tour the guide turned off the lights. Absolute darkness. And something else. Complete silence. You could feel the weight of it. Like the comfort of a heavy blanket. No water dripping. Not a rustle or a hint of noise.

Then people shifted and starting breathing again. But for one blessed moment.

Silence.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the sound of silence. Even here on my front porch, a quarter mile from the road, the traffic noise is raucous. Over time I’ve learned to tune it out. Now when I sit among my flowers my ears automatically attune to the sounds of birds, the breeze dancing through the leaves of the tallow tree, and even the bees, productively collecting pollen from the mealy sage.

I happily hear the things that matter. And pay no mind to the things that don’t. If we can learn do this with our ears, we must also learn to do it with our spirit. When Jesus commands us to stay awake, He is not referring to a lack of slumber. He is telling us to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open to the things of God.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7 NKJV

Even as we go about the work that He has for us to do, we must learn to attend to the sound of His return.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41‭-‬42 NKJV

In that singular moment, just before He appears, I imagine it might be like that silence in that cave.  And then we’ll be soaring! The sound of rushing water enveloping us as our spirits lift, meeting Him for the final time.

Always and forever with our Lord.

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