Sunday, October 20, 2013

Don't Fear the Silence



“Happy is the person who meditates on wisdom and reasons intelligently,
Who reflects on his heart and on her ways and ponders her secrets,
Pursuing her like a hunter, and lying in wait on her paths;
Who peers through her windows and listens at her doors;” Sirach 14:20-23

That old saying, “You have two ears and one mouth because you are supposed to listen twice as much as you speak,” is great advice. Today we are a people that have every kind of impulse and distraction in front of us. You could say that it is so hard to get a quiet moment, let alone a quiet moment with God.

All through the bible we are told that we are supposed to be quiet and meditate on God’s word and listen to his voice, guidance and instruction. Today we have T.V.s with hundreds of channels and have access to distractions and noise at the click of a mouse or a swipe of a smart phone. Knowledge is right at our fingertips and we are a culture of ADHD. In all of that how are we supposed to find quiet?

This topic brings to mind one of my favorite books, Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk. In this book the author writes about how we are addicted to noise and sound and has some really great quotes about life in general. It is a great philosophical read about the human condition. One of my favorite quotes from the book is a reference to 1984 by Orwell:

“Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you are fully absorbed.”

With propagandas in our face every second of every day it is no surprise that we have become so absorbed with consumerism. Marketing says that we have to get the message, ploy or product in front of as many people as often as you can afford to. The world wants your attention and we give it to the world. To raise our children we must make sure that they not only go to school but have one or two after school programs that keep them busy and four hours of homework every night. That’s what they need to stay out of trouble.

If we are to meditate on God’s word daily, what does that mean? Does that mean Yoga? What is the draw of yoga besides the things the world tells us? It is a stress reduction technique and much more. It is a way to relieve stress, tension and offer peace. It is a really healthy thing that is needed in this world right now. Many people that cannot take time out to just have some peace and quiet to be with themselves and the ones they love will sit and be quiet in this activity.

At least they are getting a few moments of peace. When is the last time you sat and listened to the rain fall outside? When was the last time you just sat quietly and cleared your mind of everything that was going on in it? We need quiet. It is in this quiet that we hear God’s voice most clearly.

The man in the bible that is thought of as being the most wise human being in the bible is Solomon. God poured wisdom into him like a fount. I find it funny that he says more than anyone else the word Meditate. Webster defines Meditate as spending time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation. Be quiet and listen.

You cannot listen when you speak. You must hold quiet so you can hear. Turn off the TV, close the computer. Turn off the phones, tablets and game systems. Take a deep breath and as you exhale clear your mind of everything you are keeping track of. Say a prayer to God and then just sit quietly for a minute. May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance (Jude 1:2). It’s there for you, but you just have to be willing to accept it.

Peace is a gift from God just as Salvation is, but like Salvation we have an obligation to seek it and hold quietly upon it. With a world of distractions how can we as a people be listening to God? Do we wonder why the world has grown so far from God and we hesitate to call ourselves Christians because we don’t want to be associated with some people that call themselves Christian. Oh I’m Christian but I’m not that kind of Christian.

We cannot serve the world and serve God. We cannot listen to the world and listen to God at the same time. We cannot talk and hear at the same time. Stop waiting for your turn to speak and take your long past turn to listen. God is waiting on you to turn your face to him and you can’t if your face is staring at Wolf Blitzer, the latest reality show, or the stock market. How hard is it to kiss your spouse without looking at them?

How hard is it to love someone that you are ignoring? It’s impossible. It is also impossible for you to receive love when you are similarly distracted. Take a walk and be with God. Maybe you need to start a little closer to the flesh and take a walk with your family, or just have dinner with them. Spend time with them by spending time with them, not occupying the same room with them to be distracted by, “Whoo hoo new building!” or checking what crops need to be harvested in Farmville.

How can you draw closer to the blood that you share in your home if you have no interest in learning about them? We are noiseaholics and have allowed ourselves to become fully taken in by the distractions of the world. You are strange when you say that you don’t watch TV or don’t have Netflix. We must share the love of Christ with others, but we also have to have the time to receive it ourselves. The importance of being quiet and sitting with God and then being with other people is without paramount.

How can we Love God with all our heart and Love others as we love ourselves if we do not take the time required to actually love them? I’m not talking about dedicating more time to study of God’s word, but that helps. What I’m saying is for one day, one night, one hour turn off all distractions and just be. Take a minute or hour to be with God and then do the same with those around you. Loving others requires interaction with others.

No matter how successful you are, you can still find yourself lonely and alone even when you are surrounded by people. No matter how poor you are, you can spend a little time with the Lord or with another person to share the love that we all have been given. Love doesn’t cost any amount of money and money can only complicate it.

The greatest gift that you can give your wife is love and affection. The greatest gift you can give your husband is love and affection. The greatest gift you can receive from God is Love. Love is all that God asks in return. Can Candy Crush love you? Will Farmville teach you anything about God’s plan for us? Can WoW give us peace, mercy and love? What is distracting you from being in love? What is keeping you from peace today? Turn it off. God has a plan for every problem. No matter how big the bug in your code, you won’t figure it out until you step away from it. God’s there in that too.

One hour, give it a try… at worst you just wasted an hour of the day, we do a lot more than that flipping channels or on youtube watching cats do silly things. How bad can it be to waste it on God?

“There are worse things you can do to the people you love than kill them. The regular way is just to watch the world do it. Just read the newspaper.” Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby