In learning to become a broadcaster, one of the most important things taught to us was the importance of silence. I still remember my befuddlement in that class because my initial presupposition was that we were there to learn how to be great communicators. To me, this meant a near-perfect ability to use and bend words as we desired. That class showed me very quickly in more ways than one that not saying anything at all can also be great communication.
As I listened keenly in a class that was about to challenge every thought I had come into the class with, It became a no-brainer that silence should be used in skillful ways that hold great consideration for context. It is a great tool in the hands of those who have learned the art of being circumspect. Perhaps this article might cause many to rethink how they use their words or believe it is better to say less than needed in any situation.
To begin with, we need to ask the all-important question, “What is the aim of speaking?” What seems to be rhetorical, is a thing many really have to ask themselves. What’s the whole point of saying what you’re trying to say? Why is it imperative that it is even said?
The need for effective communication cannot be downplayed as too much depends on it. However, a lot can happen when silence or “a pause” is deliberately and properly used. Silence creates room for the mind to arrange and collect thoughts succinctly. Silence adorns our message with the beauty of calmness. The absence of speech, when used correctly, perfects communication, and as human beings, we experience a lot in our relationship with God.
Believers love communicating with God through prayer and some prefer the response or evidence for what was prayed for be instantaneous – sometimes that’s the case. We believe that the fruits of our communication with God should be immediately gratifying. Nonetheless, we can all agree that God often uses silence to perform miracles in our lives. It is through silence we grow in faith and trust in God. It is when we cannot see or hear what is being handled behind the scenes that we are being pruned to fit the blessings ahead of us.
Just like I learned in my communication class, the absence of words doesn’t mean inactivity or the end of the conversation. Silence can be used to lay emphasis or get rid of the intelligible “fillers” that can easily make one look unprepared or even unprofessional, and I believe God teaches us a lot when we think He is quiet. Some of us believe we have been abandoned at the mercy of evil persons or situations when the Lord is seemingly quiet. We immediately begin to ask God questions like He cannot see what is happening to us.
A perfect example of such could be seen in scripture when Jesus took a nap while the disciples battled the storm. They believed they had met their untimely end even though Jesus was right there with them but asleep. All they saw was silence and hopelessness until they woke Him up asking “Master, do you not care that we perish?”- Mark 4:8. Jesus’ response questioning the faith of the disciples underscores that in certain situations the silence is to observe what we do in faith. What truly makes the state of silence is what we do with it; it is the one thing God tends to use a lot.
I can bet we now have some questions to answer as we look introspectively at our lives and how we react to silence. Are we proud of what we do when waiting for God’s response or do we unravel when God is silent? The bottom line is, the way we play the mature or immature card of silence, will eventually speak tremendous or horrible volumes.
Ogo Adelakun writes on diverse subjects.