What Others Say

Just a note to thank you for your wonderful weekly columns in the Galveston Paper.
To open a newspaper and see references to God, Scriptures, Kindness, Peace, Loving one another is what our whole world needs now more than ever. -John D. Galveston, Texas

Monday, April 18, 2016

Getting Beyond the Noise

Our world is filled with noise: the whine of tires on the interstate, the roar of eighteen-wheelers;  the constant chatter of televisions in the background, talk show hosts over-talking each other, voices escalating in pitch and volume; politicians screaming insults and accusations at each other.  

Even the sanctuary of my car has been invaded by a talking GPS system.  “Recalculating,” she says, followed by “Make a U turn!”  Once, when my grandkids were riding with me, I switched her language settings from English to German, Russian, Spanish and Arabic just so we could hear what it is like to be corrected in different languages. The grandkids loved it.

Libraries are still pretty quiet. No one wants to mess with a stern librarian. Beaches and parks are quiet, unless someone pulls up nearby with a boom box.  

Silence can make us nervous.  We like to surround ourselves with sound.  It somehow comforts us, relieves us from thinking our own thoughts or, worst of all, being alone. But maybe we are missing something.  Maybe there is something in the silence of solitude that we have lost in our streaming, screaming and crowded world.

Before Jesus launched his public ministry he spent 40 days in the wilderness.  There were no radios, televisions, iPods or iPhones.  He was completely alone in the silence.  I have been there, stood on the edge of the wilderness where he wandered alone for 40 days. It is a stark and silent place.  It prepared Him for the days when He would be buried by the crush of the crowd with little time to eat or sleep.

When John preached near the Jordan River, thousands came to hear him.  The hillsides were covered with people listening to his messages.  People lined up to be baptized for repentance.  But before his remarkable public preaching, John spent years in the wilderness listening to God. 

Our lack of silence and solitude threatens to make us shallow, only able to repeat the slogans and jingles of the latest commercials.  Our minds repeat the lyrics of the latest pop songs.  If we would have depth of character, if we would think new thoughts, if we would hear the voice of God, we need time alone, time away from all the noise.  Time to think new thoughts and time to pray.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” 

The Bible says, “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  (Isaiah 40:30-31). “’Come now, and let us reason together.’ Says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’” (Isaiah 1:18).


David said, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)  “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.”  (Psalm 131:2)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Bill, you are so right! May the Lord grant us those moments of quiet so that we may truly hear from Him!

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