Friday night I stood before our Silent Sanctuary Retreat guests at Black Rock Retreat. It was
the first few minutes of our time together. Many faces looking back at me were familiar,
loved, have become a part of my support, my family. Many return to Black Rock Retreat for
this event each year in January as a way to start the year off on a clear path. There were
unfamiliar faces as well…..looking at me with uncertainty, expectancy, a little fear. What
would these 37 hours of silence bring?
I gave my welcome and opened my mouth to pray. One sentence came out. I paused. And
that’s when it happened. The thunder clap. Unexpectedly. Powerfully. God’s Presence almost
knocked me to my knees. The silence was FULL. Charged. It took my breath away. I couldn’t
speak nor did I want to. The silence. Was. So. Loud.
A few minutes later we said amen with a sigh and looked at each other, stunned. What…
just….happened? Wow. In all of my 58 years I’ve never experienced such a sudden,
uncontrived movement of God. He simply gave us a small glimpse into His glorious
presence. It was a gift. It had nothing whatsoever to do with me, my preparation, my
leadership…or lack thereof. God just decided to bless us in that way.
The Silent Sanctuary Retreat provides the framework for God to fill the silence with His
Words. In our regular daily lives it takes great effort to hear the soft whisper of the Voice of
Truth. The retreat gives us the opportunity to wait in silence, in peace, for God only.
“My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation,
My Stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength,
My refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
We’ll not hear the thunder clap in the silence if our space is constantly filled with noise.
Experience God’s power in the silence, grow your faith, and reconnect with your creator.
– Nancy Engel