Chirping Internet Crickets and Quiet Things

With the mere mention of a Christian celebrity I can drive hundreds more visitors to my site. But I’m more interested in talking about quiet things.

Over the decade I’ve been blogging I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: we would much rather talk about big social topics than about ourselves. When I post something on the church at large, or politics, the number of visitors to my site soars and comments pour in. Everyone rushes to the table where the state of the church is sliced, diced, and analyzed in detail. Or in another vein, with the mere mention of a Christian celebrity I can drive hundreds more visitors to my site. But I’m more interested in talking about quiet things.
If, however, I post something about our individual need to wait for God in silence, or our personal destiny to become conformed to his image, I get the Internet equivalence of chirping crickets. Nothing. Like busking in the Metro, everyone hurries by. And why not? Christianity is way more fun when we’re talking about other people. Following Jesus isn’t such a joyride when we figure out he wants to have serious conversations about the state of our hearts (at least, that’s what we think).
I’m sure today’s snarky tone doesn’t help–no one likes a scold. And it’s true, I am one of us as well. I would much rather pontificate on the issues facing Christendom across the continent than listen to the still small voice addressing the secrets of my heart. I would rather do significant things. I want to be a part of important conversations.
Image my surprise when I found the private notes of a world leader who longed to hear the whisper spoken to him alone. A man who held a position of national significance, no, wait–historical importance. Yet he was a man who positioned himself in the quiet place and waited for his best friend to come and sit with him.
My heart is not proud, O LORD, 
       my eyes are not haughty; 
       I do not concern myself with great matters 
       or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
       like a weaned child with its mother,
       like a weaned child is my soul within me.
 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
       both now and forevermore. (~ Psalm 131, a psalm of David)
God took the boy out of the shepherd’s field and put him in the palace, but not before embedding the hillside, the breeze, the night sky and the quiet times into his heart. The Biblical histories of Samuel and Chronicles will tell you the palace was a place filled with intrigue, politics, war and power–and it was. The Psalms and Proverbs will tell you that David took time to climb the stairs, shut the door, and pick up the harp.
Our greatest need is the daily presence of the Holy Spirit. When David knew he had stepped over the line, claiming power and privilege as some sort of birth right, he repented before the Lord and begged that the presence would remain:
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:10-11)
At the end of each day, literally, as I lay me down to sleep, my Father won’t be impressed with my intellect or insight. He’ll be concerned with the beat of my heart. In the quiet (if there is quiet) he will want to know if I lived a whole-hearted life that day. Did my actions spring from the well of the Spirit or the treadmill of importance? He will be concerned with these questions because he knows that spiritual formation happens each day. The only question is: what have we formed?
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.
Ray Hollenbach
Ray Hollenbach helps pastors and churches navigate change. He's the founder of DEEPER Seminars, weekend leadership retreats focused on discipleship in the local church. His devotional book "Deeper Grace" is available at He currently lives in central Kentucky. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.