We live in a noisy world.
A few months ago, as I sat at my desk to work, I became aware of the theme from Family Feud playing. I knew that it was Family Feud because I used to watch it with my siblings growing up (an unimportant detail). I realized it couldn’t be coming from our little apartment, since we owned no TV or loudspeakers, and I was home alone. The floor started vibrating from the intense frequencies, and it clicked that it was our downstairs neighbors, who often had the TV volume turned all the way up (or at least it sounded that way).
I relocated to my husband’s empty office, and not seconds after getting myself comfortable in his cushy swivel chair, a car alarm sounded—ringing through the air for a good amount of time before being shut off. A truck then sped out of the neighboring community. I hope whoever it was wasn’t trying to be stealthy, because the whole block heard them.
I thought that just maybe, it was now my turn. My turn to have silence. However, people across the way started shouting, and a convenience store truck (I didn’t even know those existed) started driving around wailing, “The Entertainer” out of its built-in speakers. The downstairs neighbors started wrestling elephants, and an exceptionally long train drove by. Judging from the duration of the tones, I’m guessing that every train car had its own horn to toot.
We live in a noisy world—or at least I do.
Everywhere we go, noise confronts us. Music blares from speakers in malls and croons to us in coffee shops. Vehicles offer their own purrs and vibrations when we’re near a busy street. If your computer is anything like mine, there is an almos constant breathy hum coming from it while you work (maybe I should get that checked out...). Sometimes we intentionally create noises to muffle other noises—placing headphones over our ears or turning on fans at night to create white noise. Studies have shown that so much noise pollution so often might lead to higher blood pressure and increased risk of heart attacks.
Our ears are not our only members affected by noise either: Billboards bombard our eyes from every angle, as do magazine covers at the grocery checkout line, and every single text, email, or Facebook notification. Product labels scream at us. Our noses are constantly picking up aromas of exhaust, greasy food, perfumes and plastics—and we sometimes don’t even notice. Our minds are drowning in information and processing everything we take in; barely stopping for a break.
We live in a noisy world. I do. Don’t you?
There was a time in my life when noise was a constant friend. I could not stand not having something on in the background to keep me company, and every surface of my spaces were filled. It took many years for me to realize the sweetness of a peaceful and quiet moment. Now, I take the time to have silence; to escape from the noisy world in which I currently reside. When I do this, my thoughts come back clearer and remind me that these noises and clutter are mere distractions—distractions that keep me from hearing the soft and tender voice of God in my life.
If you have been a Christian for a while (or have seen those motivational nature scenes with script scrolled across a river), you have heard or read the verse from Psalm 46 that says, "Be still and know that I am God." In such a noisy world, how is that even possible?
I always look to the example of Jesus when faced with such questions. The Bible says that when Jesus was on earth, He "often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed." (Luke 5:16) In Mark 1, it describes how He rose long before the sun had even risen and went to a solitary place to pray.
I don't know about you, but getting up before the sun is not always appealing to my nature. However, I never regret time in the quiet hours of the morning; being still and listening to God's voice. No mental clutter. No distractions. No noise. There is a certain peace that is only found in the morning that I enjoy; the Lord quiets me there with His love (Zephaniah 3:17).
Take some time today (and every day) to be still with the Lord. Know that He is God through prayer, being silent in his presence and by meditating on Scripture; learning of Him and following His example.
We live in a noisy world. Will we be still?