May 9 2012

Speechless

“There is a time for everything…a time to be silent and a time to speak.”  Ecclesiastes 3:7

Last night as I was driving home from the airport in Louisville I played a CD by my favorite contemporary Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman.  In his song “Speechless” he sings these words: I’m astonished and amazed; I am silenced by your wondrous grace.  You have saved me, You have raised me from the grave.  And I am speechless in your presence now.  I’m astounded as I consider how You have shown us a love that leaves us speechless.”

As I listened to these words I certainly concurred with Steven’s sentiment; God’s love and grace often leave me speechless.  So too does the beauty of God’s Creation.  Several times on my recent trip to the desert southwest I could only stand in awe at what I was seeing.  I was “astonished and amazed” as I looked at the marvelous formations in Carlsbad Caverns.  I was “astounded” by the beauty of Big Bend National Park.  I was left “speechless” as I looked out on the pristine dunes of White Sands National Monument.  There were so many times on this trip that I was overwhelmed by what I saw, and at times heard, in God’s Creation that I simply had to stand in wonder, awe and silence.

This was not a new experience for me.  Countless times I have beheld beauty that humbled me and left me speechless.  I say “beauty” but in reality it is the Creator that leaves me overwhelmed and lacking words to express what I’m feeling.  As a pastor I make my living talking about God but there are times when words get in the way.  I can understand why the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote “God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (5:2)  When we encounter God, wherever or however that might be, the best thing we can do at times is be silent.

There is no doubt a time to lift up our voices in praise to God.  Every single day we should offer Him words of thanksgiving.  But it is not a bad thing at all to “be still and know” that God is God. (Psalm 46:10)  Christina Rossetti once said, “Silence is more musical than any song.”  I cannot help but feel God is honored when we stand speechless before Him.  It is in those moments we let God be God and that is enough.

–Chuck

(I took the top image at Big Bend National Park, the middle one at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and the bottom one at White Sands National Monument.)