The noise today is deafening. Every politician is clamoring for our attention with radio, television and print commercials and news reports. The entertainment industry offers a never-ending supply of music, talk, drama and comedy. The fingers of the electronic information age reach into our homes through the Internet and television with a non-stop barrage of sounds and images.
Our senses and our minds are constantly stimulated.
But stimulation without the time or ability to reflect or process the information is not helpful. In fact, it can lead to a nearly constant state of anxiety of the mind and spirit as seemingly contradictory conditions all appear to exist at the same time.
What we are missing in this new age of all-information-all-the-time is silence.
Silence in which to relax with ourselves and renew our spirits. Silence in which to quietly reflect on what we have seen and heard. Silence in which to calmly make decisions about our lives and our futures. Silence in which to spend time with God.
As a society, we run from silence. We come home and immediately turn on the television. We get in the car and turn on the radio. We set the volume up on our computers and our I-pods. It’s as if we as a society have become simultaneously addicted to intellectual stimulation and phobic about internal reflection.
That addict/phobic combination can be seen in our decreasing attention span, in our inability to engage in substantive debate, and in the destabilization of our social fabric. Whether we are dealing with electoral issues or questions of public policy, the discussion never moves beyond slogans and accusations – or their corresponding sound bites.
Even when we pray, we seek noise. We initiate a conversation with God, but don’t stop talking long enough for Him to give us an answer.
A long ago prophet once spoke about listening for the voice of God. It wasn’t in the tornado or the fire or the strong wind. It was only when the prophet became quiet and still that he was able to hear the voice of God.
With all the decisions facing us as a nation in the upcoming elections, many are seeking to know what to do through our prayers. But unless we are willing to seek the silence, we run the risk of missing the answer to those prayers in the din.
As we move into the final days, let us resolve to consciously set aside at least 15 minutes each day for silence – a time when we turn off all the noise, and stop talking ourselves. A time when we, like that prophet, resolve to listen for His voice.
If we do, we will find that He will provide the answers that we seek.