by Steve Carpenter
The term “dead air” is normally used for a period of silence during a radio broadcast. Radio producers hate dead air. They know that when there is “dead air” that listeners will change the stations very quickly. In fact, broadcasters are taught to avoid stretches of time where nothing is happening on the air. People don’t like silence in general. We don’t like “dead air.” In fact, we avoid it.
We live in a culture where there is very little silence or dead air. We get up in the morning and turn on the T.V. or radio immediately as we prepare for a busy day. We are attached to our phones or computers or busy working and talking all day long. Any spare moments are filled with text messages, email, games, eating, or mindless searching of the internet. When our day is over, we end it again with “down time” in front of the T.V., cell phone, or just plain busyness preparing for the next day. All day long…no silence…no quiet…no dead air…no chance for God to speak. Maybe, we kind of like it that way.
Do we need dead air? I think the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” The Bible certainly seems to agree. Jesus often found ways to get away by himself. Sometimes he would go up on a mountain to pray all by Himself. At other times, He would send others away so that he could be alone with His Heavenly Father. He sought out silence. He actively looked for ways to find “dead air” so that He could hear God and prepare Himself for what was ahead. He often hit the “pause” button on His busy ministry. The psalmist spoke of meditating on God late at night when everything is quiet:
“When I think of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate on You during the night watches because You are My helper, I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You; your right hand holds onto me.” Psalm 63:6-8)
It’s as if the Psalmist just wanted his final thoughts of the day to be on God…he wanted quiet, peaceful time with God, and he found security in those moments.
A DEEPER QUESTION
Perhaps an even deeper question is: Why do we avoid dead air? Why don’t we like silence? Why is it that we can always find something else to do or think about? Why don’t we seek out those quiet times just with God? Could it be that we are afraid of what God might say to us? Is it possible that having to think about life and our own shortcomings is just something that we’d rather avoid? We’d rather stay busy, than to face the truth about ourselves and our relationship with God? We’d rather keep talking, than to stop and listen? It’s hard to face the reality of our shallow lives sometimes, isn’t it? We may not want to face the grief, anger, frustration, regrets, and mistakes that will no doubt surface if we get quiet for very long, right? So, we just stay busy. We find ways to waste time and occupy our minds.
What we fail to realize is that when we shut everything else out, God begins to fill our minds and hearts with His grace and love. When the issues that the silence reveals arise; He is more than ready to comfort us in the midst of those.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up my yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
He is gentle as He reminds us of our purpose. He is kind as He speaks to us in the silence about our sin. He is faithful to strengthen us and encourage us as we quietly fellowship with Him.
He said, “Come to Me. I’m gentle and humble and I’ll be sure that you find rest with Me.” That sounds a lot like Jesus is asking us to find a little “dead air.” He wants us to come to Him, and He wants to give us rest.
“Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
He has been waiting for you to shut everything else off…and just be with Him.
Be sure that you find some “dead air” today to listen to Jesus. Write down what he says to you.
- Do you seem to avoid time alone with just your thoughts? Why do you think you do this?
- Do you believe that Jesus really wants to spend time with you?
- What do you think would happen if you did this consistently?
- What steps will you have to take to “shut everything else out” so that you can be alone with God?