For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. (Psalm 62:1–2)
If you haven’t felt an earthquake, it’s nearly impossible to imagine just how disorienting and unsettling it can be. We may assume we know what it will feel like, but the tremors are deeper, more complex, more unnerving than we expect.
What makes earthquakes especially frightening? The ground that once felt so safe, so secure, suddenly feels like an enormous enemy. Up until that moment, everything around you moved and changed and broke down, except for the earth under your feet — and then that wobbled enough to make you worry.
While most people in the world don’t have to fear that an earthquake will strike their home today, another kind of tremor is far more common, and can be just as frightening: the tremors of the human heart. Life in a sin-filled world is perilous and uncertain, for all of us everywhere, unless we know the safe places where to stand.
Tremors We All Feel
We each know something of the fragility and uncertainty and even danger of life in a fallen world.
Fears disturb the spiritual ground under our feet: fears about the future, fears about our health, fears about relationships, fears about mistreatment or persecution, fears about our finances, fears about death. Temptation pummels our souls, trying to make us fall again. Sorrows roll through our lives, shaking everything they touch. In various ways, we know what King David described when he felt “like a leaning wall, a tottering fence” (Psalm 62:3).
But David’s heart was not a leaning or crumbling wall, because he did not stand where most people stood. He says in the same psalm, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:1–2).
When life shook the foundations under David’s feet, he ran to a rock that could not be shaken. When life felt unsure, even frightening, he knew there was something surer under the surface of all he could see and feel. He knew a love from heaven that could and would carry him safely through this earth, even while he was relentlessly attacked. He found courage, hope, and joy by faith, and not by sight.
If you have truly tasted the love of God for you in Christ, nothing — not even death — can sever or shake his promises to you (Romans 8:38–39). Satan may batter you with threats, temptations, and sorrows, but each of his fiery arrows falls, in vain, into the ocean of the Father’s love for you.
Wait in Silence
While the world pressed in on David, he waited on that rock — “in silence” (Psalm 62:1). For some of us, silence is as foreign an experience as earthquakes. Fear and anxiety plague many of us because we don’t know what it feels like to sit quietly and patiently before God. Instead of waiting in silence, we often hide ourselves in one distraction after another — distractions which, far from quieting our hearts, often cause even more tremors.
You can hear David fighting for the silence he needs. Later in the psalm, he charges his own soul with a command: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence” (Psalm 62:5). Do you trust God enough to say the same to your soul? When stress and confusion and heartache suddenly swell, will you reach for the rock, or spend your days stepping around him?
Silence serves at least two great purposes: it exposes us again to the greatness, wisdom, and trustworthiness of God, and it exposes us to ourselves — the sins that still entangle us, the lies that have influenced us, the grace that has eluded us, the chains that still bind us. God has filled silence with an unusual capacity to instill reality, eternity, and stability in our hearts.
Not Silent for Long
As precious as silence before God can be, especially in suffering, no one who has seen or heard from God can stay silent for long. After David waited in silence, he turns, in the very next breath, to tell others what he has found there: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). When his feet found the steady, unwavering, satisfying rock of life, he immediately called others to come stand with him on God.
If God has quieted the fears and anxieties in your heart with his faithfulness, look for someone whose world is shaking, even crumbling, someone who’s desperate for your hope and stability. Tell them about the tremors in your story, and then say with David, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8).