Can you hear it?
Actually, how can you NOT hear it?
Noise. An ever growing volume of NOISE.
These days it surrounds us, drowns us, consumes us. It seems to come from every angle, from above and below, from near and far.
Everywhere you go – it feels like you can’t get away from it.
NOISE, sometimes a deafening amount that makes you want to put your hands over your ears.
And it won’t get any better, not THIS fall.
Now if this were a television commercial we’d go right into a sales pitch for the latest noise cancelling headphones – just slip them on and all of that extraneous noise would simply disappear so you can have a restful airplane flight, a calm car ride, or just moments of peace and quiet at home.
Oh, if real life were only that way…
We won’t try to be Best Buy or some other electronics store or an Internet influencer with a breakdown of these awesome headphones and why you NEED to buy them. Because in this case, with THIS noise, those headphones just won’t work.
Instead we’re talking about the noise of life today. That noise that can be truly threatening to you and your health – if you let it.
THE VIRUS – the never ending stream of stories about the latest numbers, the vaccine that will show up ????, the masks and social distancing and washing your hands and don’t touch your face. Watch out for crowds, all kids should stay home from school to be safe, don’t talk or sing or even breathe.
And the talking heads and “experts” on TV? Back and forth and back and forth, blah and blah and blah for months now.
THE ECONOMY – the millions of people who lost jobs, some who got them back but many who never will, will more government handouts come your way, governors issuing mandates on who can be open and who can’t, how many people you’re allowed to have in a restaurant or bar, is working from home the best way to go?
And the talking heads and “experts” on TV? Back and forth and back and forth, blah and blah and blah for months now. Yep, same stuff.
SPORTS – BUSINESS – FAMILY GATHERINGS – WEDDINGS – PUBLIC EVENTS – BLEACH – MEDICINES – CLIMATE CHANGE - WILD WEATHER - anything even remotely connected to these main stories.
And then of course, THE ELECTION – now less than two months to go and our TV channels are already saturated with election ads for this guy, then the other guy, why the first guy is a failure while the other guy is a weak imbecile. This party will ruin the country…no wait, the OTHER party will ruin the country.
And the talking heads and “experts” on TV? Back and forth and back and forth, blah and blah and blah for months now. ARRGGHH.
See what we mean? NOISE, from all directions.
How can we cancel the noise? It isn’t high tech. Or then again, maybe it really is “high” tech.
Trust in God, from on high. Something our ancestors have done forever.
The answers jump off the pages at us. The Bible is filled with references we need, at both ends of the book and in-between.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NIV
Remember the story? The Israelites have finally entered the Promised Land. Joshua has taken over for Moses but there is a lot of fear as they enter “enemy” territory. And despite all that God has done for them, the people are scared of the future.
God reached out to Joshua and assured him of all that is to come – and it happened.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” – Psalm 32:8 NIV
All that noise surrounding us? God cuts through the clutter, puts everything in its place. He’s always there to give sound advice. But are you still teachable? That old line “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” – is that really true?
If an old dog wants to learn something new….he’ll learn it. Still teachable. If a dog can make a commitment to learn something new, so can each of us – we simply have to be willing to listen.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 NIV
Pastor Leigh featured this in a recent sermon. All that NOISE out there wants you to crumble, to dumb yourself down to their level, to just follow the rest of the crowd. Instead this is a time to go the opposite direction – don’t look down in defeat and despair but look up for true answers.
If you believe in God then you believe in His Will – “His will be done” we often say. His will is perfect, it knows the future and what is good and right. By opening our minds we can begin to see that will just by keeping our eyes open, paying attention, looking for God in everyday things. The feeling is truly transforming.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV
Here is where the NOISE can really hurt us. Watch how we live – what we say, what we do, how we act, how we react. Without open eyes it’s easy to get swallowed up in the tsunami of noise these days.
Paul was right in Ephesians – from 2,000 years ago and true today. The days are evil. Selfish people with only their own desires to quench often make a lot of noise. In their world you seem to “win” by outshouting your opponents, putting them down, making them throw up their hands in disgust. The last one to make noise wins – that’s their basic game plan.
A strategy to cancel the noise? Make the most of every opportunity? It’s not headphones. Jesus has mentioned it before…
“When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6 NIV
Go into a quiet room, shut out the noise. Offer your prayers to Him above, then listen for the response. Yes, listen. In a quiet room you can hear amazing things – shut out the noise of this world and God’s answers come to you.
No, it’s not the booming God voice from the movies. Instead it’s whisper quiet, perhaps felt as much as it’s heard. Hear and feel His answers.
The NOISE doesn’t have to consume you – only if you let it. Look above and rise above the din – God is waiting for you to call on Him…
From George Churchgoer