March 8, 2012
The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. Habakkuk 2:20
In my last post, I mentioned Haleakala’s awesome sights. Today I want to mention this national park’s other outstanding feature—silence.
In the Smithsonian article I referenced, the author opens the piece musing on the park’s solitude:
Entering Haleakala Crater, the enormous mouth of Maui’s largest volcano, in the Hawaiian Islands, feels like an exercise in sensory deprivation. At the crater floor, a desolate expanse of twisted, dried lava reached after a two-hour hike down a trail carved into its wall, the silence is absolute. Not a breath of wind. No passing insects. No bird songs. Then I thought I detected drumming. Was it the ghostly echo of some ancient ritual? No, I finally realized, it was my own heartbeat, thundering in my ears.
In 2008, National park Service acoustic experts found that the ambient sound levels within Haleakala crater were near the very threshold of human hearing.
Silence can be maddening or creepy, or it can be soothing. “If you spend any time at all inside Haleakala,” notes Kiope Raymond, associate professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College, in the article, “you will be overcome by what Mark Twain called its ‘healing solitudes.’ It induces tranquility and encourages reflection.”
I too discovered that at Haleakala. While I didn’t go down into the crater, as I stood atop the summit, I was filled with the majesty and power of God in this awesome and quiet place. Really, it was too much to take in. All I could do was experience a mere hint of those qualities. Definitely a “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) moment.
We all need quiet in this noisy world. But we can’t live forever on a mountaintop or in a valley with only God and ourselves for company, so we need to find it whenever and wherever we find ourselves. And God promises to provide that rest and peace, those “healing solitudes” we crave, even in the midst of chaos.
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28, 29
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Lasting peace isn’t found in a place, but in a Person. I pray we all will be able to enjoy special spots of quiet in our travels, but more importantly, that we’ll be able to revel in the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7) wherever we are, provided freely for the asking by the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) Himself.
He not only lives in Haleakala, but right beside us.