How much noise can you pump into your head before you begin to drown out God’s voice? This question introduces a timely article by Joseph Benz, which appeared in the daily devotional booklet“In Touch,” titled “This Noisy Life.”
Benz, the author of “Silent God: Finding Him When You Can’t Hear His Voice,” observes that it’s not hard to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment connected to some sort of device that injects information into our brains, writing: “From morning till night, we’re bombarded by 24 hour news channels, billboards, Web sites, e-mail, and other potential mental clamor.”
The Psalmist advised those going through great trials to be still and know that God is in control (Psalm 46:10). But how can our hearts be stilled when our minds are filled with unnerving news flowing in continually from both near and far away?
At one time, I was so hooked on being in touch with every late breaking headline that the tuning buttons on my car radio were set to enable me to hear the latest news reported as quickly as possible by those whom I felt were most able to keep me informed. This moment by moment button pushing enabled me to feel current with what was happening in the world no matter where I was traveling.
Then, while passing through a period of great stress, I suddenly realized that part of my trouble was of my own making. I was feeding my fears by always reaching out for all the trouble I could grasp. As a result, I reset my radio buttons and started tuning out much of what I had been inviting into my mind. The positive results of this move proved to be pleasantly surprising. The silence silenced my fears and increased personal peace.
Joseph Benz warns that the real danger of being ruled by a noisy life is that all these distractions can lure us away from God, adding that another result of this continual clatter filling our brains may cause Him to be just one more item to multitask. In his words:“The addictive quality of this perpetual din is what makes it so tough to get under control. We may move from not being able to escape it to not really wanting to. Take away our e-mail or cell phones – even for a short time – and we feel deprived, maybe even panicky.”
How then can we break this desire for noise and bondage to our toys?
An important resource for achieving such freedom has for many been having a daily appointment in a quiet place for prayer and Bible reading.
Our Lord frequently took His disciples away from the crowds that followed them so He could teach them without being disturbed.
Isaiah, the prophet, was told he could find strength for his many responsibilities and trials through quietness and confidence (Isaiah 30:15).
How does one build a devotional life that insulates from the negatives in this noisy world? Times of quietness and prayer that work well for some may be impractical for others, but the basic ingredients for achieving a quiet heart in the midst of this commercial clatter are the same: a desire to break the bondages that monopolize our lives and steal the sweet sounds of silence we need to build our faith.
Roger Campbell is an author, a columnist and broadcaster who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.