The book of Habakkuk is the cry of a man who is frustrated over the state of his land and over God’s harsh response to His people for their unfaithfulness. In His sovereignty, God allowed hard rulers and enemies of the people to rule over them. Habakkuk literally wrestles with God over the severity of the people’s situation. Then, in the midst of his frustration, he acknowledges, “…But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him…” (Hab. 2:20) When we recognize the vastness of WHO He is and how He is in complete control, even in our seemingly hopeless situations, we can’t help but be silent.
Furthermore, it is only in this silence that we can truly be aware of Him.
As a mom of five who is also running a business from our home, I often feel that my world is extremely noisy. If I’m gut-level honest with you, more than once I have found myself, against my heart’s desire, shouting to be heard above the noise. Does it work? Nope. My shouts become more noise that is drowned out by chaos. In contrast, I am working these days to grow as a so-called “baby-whisperer” who photographs newborns… giving their mamas a break while we capture for them the days that will soon be gone. How do I calm these little ones? Quite literally, I whisper. You know the drill if you’ve ever held a little one – there’s a cadence to the whisper that accompanies a fussy baby… shhhh, shhhh, bounce, bounce, shhhh, shhhh, bounce, bounce. And in this near-silence, there is often found calm.
Why is it so easy to forget that Jesus is our Emmanuel, the God who is with us? When life is loud, He is in the midst, and ever-so-softly, He calls to us to run to Him for patience and peace, for direction and strength, for deliverance from our own brokenness.
I remember as a little girl, sitting in my grandma’s house in the dark living room while everyone else celebrated in another room. She had this quiet little gadget for her Christmas tree that softly played carols as the lights flickered in tempo. It was in this quiet in the midst of the crazy family-storm that I found peace and kinship with my Jesus. And still, as an adult, when I avoid the temptation to fill every waking minute with noise and activity, there is often the sweetest fellowship with the One whose birth we celebrate during the Christmas season.
Why, my sister, do we look for God in the noise? He is found in the quiet. As we bounce through our holiday preparations, let our bounce be accompanied by a shhhh, shhhh… and let our ears be tuned for the calm that can only come from our often-quiet Papa.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!