Opinion

Hear the real message not just the white noise

By Riverine Herald

I HAVE found myself with a common reply whenever a friend texts me to see how I am going.

My response in a word is ‘‘busy’’.

It appears I am not alone in this as the word seems descriptive of modern life.

For me it is exacerbated by my inability to say ‘no’ to new opportunities, having a young family and being slightly addicted to modern technology.

Twitter is my vice.

All of these things and various commitments create a constant white noise in my mind as I go through my day.

Hounded by that dreaded question, ‘Have I forgotten something?’ Or planning for the next scheduled event.

I was challenged recently, when reading the Bible to try and incorporate some silence into my life.

This call to silence was not just to improve my capacity or manage stress, but to listen for and reflect on the voice of God.

I recently began preparing for Christmas events, which I have to do early so that it is all ready on time and sufficiently meaningful.

Isn’t it interesting how you can hear a story all your life and still miss some real treasures.

I started at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, in my mind expecting to get straight to Jesus.

Surprisingly it doesn’t begin there, but with the events around the birth of John the Baptist.

His father Zechariah, a priest, was serving in the Jewish temple when an Angel announced to him, that his wife Elizabeth would have a child.

In spite of this being something they had prayed about for a long time Zechariah doubted the announcement.

Perhaps a reasonable response given his age and their experience.

However, there was a consequence for his doubt.

He wouldn’t be able to speak until the baby was born. As announced by the angel, Elizabeth did become pregnant with the child who would have the role of preparing his people for the coming of Jesus.

I imagine this time of compulsory silence was very humbling and included much reflection time.

Other than making communication with his wife very difficult, every time he looked at her, he would be reminded of the goodness of God’s provision and that he is true to his word.

His wife also chose, not silence but seclusion for the first five months of the pregnancy.

We aren’t told why in the Gospel of Luke, but it does indicate she used the time to enjoy God’s blessing of the child.

Time for God often gets crowded out in the business of modern life and his voice often unheard or squeezed out with the competing white noise of technology.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”

Being more intentional with setting aside time for silence has enabled me to hear more.

God’s presence, reassurance and blessing has become clearer as silence has become golden.

Try some silence this busy festive season and you might just discover God’s message for you.

If you need a little help I have found the guided silence in the podcast ‘Pause/Pray’ helpful.

Tim Bowles

Chaplain

Moama Anglican Grammar