Stopping by Woods

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Let your words be few before God.  My heart waits in silence for God.  Jesus kept silent.  There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”  (Eccles 5:2; Psalm 62:1, Matthew 15:23,  Eccles 3:7.)

A television interviewer asked Don Henley, the drummer of the Eagles rock and roll band, “When you’re in your car and the radio is on, what music do you listen to?”  He quickly replied “I turn the radio off.  Silence is a good thing.  We need more of it.”

Lines from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”  also serve to remind us of our need for quiet time in our overcrowded lives.  “Whose woods these are I think I know.  He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.  The woods are lovely dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

There have been times in my hospital ministry when I realize that calmness can be a key to pushing back fear in the face of illness.  This quality of peacefulness can serve to put us in our place in the world while drawing us closer to our Heavenly Father and bring a focus to our prayers even in an otherwise noisy Sunday morning worship service.  Yes.  I understand that silence during radio broadcasts makes station staff nervous.  For decades, our worship hour over local air waves has brought comfort to our homebound members and friends.

Welcoming Christ into our lives can quiet physical and emotional storms.  As we grasp a hold of Jesus’ calming presence, we often find ourselves discovering practical answers to even mountains-sized challenges.  God’s peace is always available.  There is no substitute for the transforming effect of spiritual stillness.  It’s a God given gift each of us can rely on daily.  As we do, we can experience more deeply its steadying effect on our daily tasks, be they large or small, extra-ordinary or routine.