when silence falls

‘When Silence Falls’ was an album released by Tim Hughes in 2004. There’s a song on the album entitled: ‘When the Tears Fall’ – I felt compelled to listen to it again the other day. It’s basically a song about God being with us as we go through the shit, and about us praising God in the midst of pain, and confusion, and despair. Here are a few of the lyrics…


I’ve had questions without answers
I’ve known sorrow, I have known pain
But there’s one thing that I cling to
You are faithful, Jesus You’re true

When hope is lost
I call You Saviour
When pain surrounds
I call You Healer
When silence falls
You’ll be the song within my heart

In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me, You sustain me
My defender for ever more

When silence falls…

I was struck recently by the inauguration of Pope Francis, who as he stood on ‘the balcony’ asked the millions gathered to pray for him in the silence. There was power in the silence, it projected something of sheer beauty and peace. It spoke far more than words, it spoke of a man of integrity and humility, a man of prayer, a man of the people and a man for the people.

Silence is increasingly difficult to find. Often we are all too quick to speak, to fix things, to find the answers. Perhaps if we listened a bit more, and said a lot less then we might actually begin to hear the still small voice of God.

When silence falls…


The song finishes with:

I will praise You
I will praise You
When the tears fall
Still I will sing to you
I will praise You
Jesus I will praise You
Through the suffering
Still I will sing to you

When all laughter fails to comfort
When my heart aches, Lord are you there
When confusion is all around me
And the darkness is my closest friend
Still I’ll praise You
Jesus praise You

We will all at some point go through the shit, some perhaps more so than others, but no-one is immune. I recently heard of a 50 year old dying from a heart attack, a 22 year old having a stroke, and a 5 year old dying from non-hodgkin lymphoma. Life can be shit. It hurts, it’s unfair, and it’s damn well cruel sometimes.

I’ve spent most of this week in bed, in constant pain, waiting for yet another operation that never comes. Unable to do anything except wait, wait in the silence, a very long and deafening silence. Sometimes even pleading with God to just take me away to a better place. I mean, anything has got to be better than this, surely?

However, there are times when silence says far more than words ever could. There are times when words just aren’t enough. And, we often find that it’s there, in the silence where we have a choice, – to reject God or to embrace him. It’s there, in the silence where we come to the end of ourselves and try desperately in the darkness to grab a hold of God – sometimes we find him, other times he feels a million miles away, but we are to make that choice nevertheless.

I’m reminded of a guy in the Bible called Job who when going through real hardship and difficulty says: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Basically, in a nutshell he is saying: “life is fragile and it’s pretty shit at times – but I’m gonna praise you anyway, because you are God and are worthy of my praise!”

All too often we think of ‘praise’ as being something loud, wacky and extravert – something we do when we are happy, when there is something to celebrate. Surely, there is far more to praising God than warm ‘fuzzy’ feelings? Surely, God is interested in every aspect of our lives, not just the ‘good’ bits? Of course, he delights in the ‘good’ bits, but he also wants us to praise him when we find ourselves in that place of anger, pain, hurt, and confusion – and that is hard.

I’ve found great comfort and encouragement this week from Psalm 65 where it says: ‘Silence is to praise you.’

Perhaps there are times then when silence is enough… perhaps sometimes worship is silence and that’s ok.


‘I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I cannot feel it. I believe in God, even when he is silent.’ (Jewish prisoner – 1940’s)


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