It was about six o’clock and in our house that means it’s just about supper time. The food was ready. The table had been set. Drinks were in cups and the only thing left was to call the children to come and get it. But not so fast! Have you ever had one of those moments when you just thought a little peace and quiet wouldn’t hurt anything? Well this was one of those nights. We considered ear plugs and eating by ourselves but that wouldn’t really be great parenting.
Before you form some negative judgement about my wife and I considering leaving our children upstairs while we ate supper alone with earplugs in just give me a minute to set the stage.
Before the all call went out that it was time to eat and the thundering herd made their way to the kitchen table to scarf down whatever was edible at the table you should sit with me in my kitchen. So there we were. Each of us doing our own thing. My daughter was at the computer doing some learning activity on the internet that in all honesty looked more like a video game with letters and numbers than homework. Every time she clicked the right letter the computer would make all kinds of celebratory noise! And she only knows one volume on the computer – the volume that’s loud enough we can all hear it.
One of my boys was in his room practicing his trombone at a volume only necessary at halftime of a high school football game, but he was upstairs in the house with his door open!
The other son loves his music and was on a mission for me. He was tasked with cleaning up the scattered mess of toys in the basement. So with his bluetooth speaker set to maximum volume he proceeds to toss nerf guns and other toys into their containers.
Add to this the exhaust fan in the kitchen that sounds like a small twin prop plane taking off and you have a little sliver of what it was like before we sat down to eat. All we wanted was a little peace and quiet and we were certain we weren’t going to get it!
Our lives are filled with so much noise that sometimes it’s just plain impossible to hear anything. We fill our minds with so many items happening all at the same time that silence is virtually impossible to find. It’s not always the sounds of televisions and video games or music and instruments, but there’s almost always noise! We turn the radio on as soon as we get in the car just to avoid silence.
But we also fill our lives with noise in the form of extra hours at work to finish that big project. We exchange rest for a little overtime to help payoff that special vacation that we’re going to end up working through remotely. And when our workday is done, we have volunteer jobs like coaching the little league game or chaperoning at camp or driving kids to every extracurricular known to mankind! All in all the sound of silence has become so uncomfortable that we’ll fill it with just about anything.
The constant barrage of noise doesn’t just affect our home and work lives but also our spiritual lives. When we fill our lives with so much noise it becomes almost impossible to hear anything below a scream. We look for God in places where he never promises to be found.
This is exactly what happened in 1 Kings 19:11-13. Elijah was so focused on the big, bold and boisterous that he almost missed God when he was right in front of him! Throughout the bible we find time and time again the encouragement to be still, rest, sabbath, and even find peace. These are all God’s ways of telling us that his go to method of communicating isn’t necessarily with lots of noise and fanfare. He often prefers the still small voice. He prefers the whisper.
That’s a question only you can answer. Take some time and reflect on the noise that competes for your attention. What can you turn off so you can hear when God calls? God has sent an invitation to you today in Psalm 46:10.
Be still, and know that I am God.