Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him.
-Frederick Buechner

I know people who have active, vivid dialogue with God – they speak to him, and they hear his voice respond.  I am not one of those people.

When I talk to God, I am usually answered with silence.

Most of the time, it’s not that I think that God is not there – but, like Buechner says, perhaps his silence is meant to create a longing that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

And for me, these days, does that longing ever exist.

On Friday, I sat at the edge of the Caribbean, listening to the water hit the sand.  It made me think of a line in Alli Rogers‘ song “Closer to the Moon,” when she sings of listening for God’s voice:

“It’s in the aching that you know there’s something more.
I have never heard even a single spoken word,
Except the rhythm of a wave upon the shore.”

The steady pulse of ocean waves reminds me of the voice of God – it’s one of the biggest reasons I miss living in Seattle.  There is a comfort to the sound and the pattern, wordless as it is.  When I feel frustrated and anxious and doubtful that he even exists, the ocean somehow, inexplicably, brings me back around to truth, calming my heart and soothing my fears.

I’m back in a very landlocked Denver now, after 7 days in Haiti.  A mere week was not enough time to even scratch the surface of the culture, the language, the people – but sitting by the ocean on my last day was the best way to wrap up the first of what I hope will be more trips.  Listening to the waves reminded me that God is still there in Haiti, in the midst of the poverty, the devastation, and the crumbling homes – and he is still here in Colorado, in the midst of my sadness, my uncertainty, and my crumbling home.



  1. Eric on March 7, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    if you get a chance to go to the back side of Vail, you will get the same feeling as going to the beach. most beautiful place i’ve ever seen.

  2. Greta on March 7, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Heavy sigh.

    Wish we could go for a walk Annie.

  3. Erin on March 7, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    gosh you write well.

  4. Anya Elise on March 7, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Though it is but a small comfort, know you’re in our thoughts and prayers, Annie.

  5. Sarah Kate on March 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    C.S. Lewis says something to the effect of “We will never be truly happy/full/satisfied on this earth because we were meant for so much more.”

  6. Pamela on March 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    I find my deepest solace in outdoor exercising. As soon as you can, get back on those 14ers. I have nothing but certainty that they’ll help you find some deep, silent answers.

    Always <3ing you from Nashville.

  7. […] Some of the most elegant and accurate writing I have ever read about God’s silence. Thank you, Annie, for putting into words how I feel when I pray.  I hope the Lord turns your mourning into dancing soon. […]

  8. Jacque on March 22, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    This is such a beautiful and touching observation. It made me cry (in a good way).

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