Living near a major hub like Kansas City has been a culture shift for me. In Kentucky, though in the shadow of Cincinnati, life moved at an easier pace. Here, hustle and bustle is the name of the game and it seemingly never ends. Perhaps part of my perception of that is always living within sight of one of the interstates since moving. I think this city life has had an effect on me…a noisy effect.
I feel like there’s a constant need for noise. When I’m working, I need to listen to something, whether music or a podcast. When I’m driving, turn the radio on or pop in a CD. When at home, scroll through facebook, watch something on Youtube or Netflix, or mindlessly meander through the endless information of the world wide web. Even when going to bed, turn on the fan and think about something until sleep takes over, and then dream about something all night long!
While studying Psalm 4 recently, I came across a verse that drew my attention. Though in the context it speaks to men acting wickedly, I believe the principle behind it is a healthy reminder for the church today. Here is the verse:
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Selah (vs. 4)
David is calling his persecutors to repentance and begins by asking them to slow down and think about what they’re doing. Most mad frenzies happen because someone doesn’t stop to consider the situation and pulls a knee-jerk reaction. It’s helpful to slow down; it’s helpful to think about life and where we’re heading; it’s helpful to think about God.
In Psalm 1 a wise person is one who “meditates” on the law of the LORD “day and night.” Meditation implies taking time to stop and seriously weigh a matter, not hurriedly perusing it, jotting down some notes, and moving on. And this is something lacking in the American church.
We need more silence.
I even tried practicing emptying my mind of any thought. I couldn’t do it. I had to think about something. So what should I think about? While, yes, I can think about mundane things or general life issues, I need to devote a good chunk of time to praying and meditating on God’s Word and what Jesus has done for me. This means I may see less baby pictures or not immediately catch the latest trailer for the latest blockbuster, but what are these things compared to my walk with Christ?
Satan wants to deter us from hotly pursuing holiness and he’ll use whatever means necessary to do so. As C.S. Lewis wrote in his Screwtape Letters, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” The noise of this world can put us at ease, lull us to sleep, and cause us to miss out on what God is saying. There are times for noise and handling that, but let us take time to be silent before the Creator of all things to commune with Him and hear what He has to say.
Just a reminder: I have a new short story up on Frontier Tales that you can read for free! When you’re done, slide on over to the home page and drop a vote in for the tale so it can be included on a collection of Western stories. Thanks!