"When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." - Revelation 8:1
With the opening of the seventh seal we might have expected the story to come to a speedy conclusion. But we do not meet a cosmic display of God’s almighty forces. Instead, we are surrounded by heaven’s silence for an extended time—so that we can receive an important message.
In our fast-paced lives there are very few places where we experience silence. Not only that, but we generally don’t like to have times of prolonged silence. We’ll do anything—listen to a radio, watch TV, send text messages, read or listen to a book, play games or sports, work, do hobbies, and more—to avoid staying in silence for very long.
Silence gives us space, however, for God to speak to our hearts. It is God who speaks in Psalm 46, saying, "Be still, and know that I am God." With the opening of the seventh seal, the story line in Revelation moves toward darkness and devastation, destruction from powers that are allowed to test and challenge people on the earth. As those who live by faith in Jesus, however, we need heaven’s silence—the stillness in which God can make himself known to us—to face any challenges to our faith.
You may be facing challenges today. The prolonged silence in today’s Bible reading promises to be God’s way of assuring us that we are not alone. God is with us as "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Slow me down, Lord. I need to stop the noise and distractions so that you can reassure me of your presence, strength, and care. Protect me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.