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Faith & Insight: Be quiet and listen

Micheal Hurlbert First Christian Church

As you read through the Gospels, you will find many times where Jesus would step away from the noise of the crowds, and the constant demands of people, to find a quiet place to be with God.

As his reputation began to spread, finding this quiet place would not always be easy for him. Still, in the busyness of life, he made it a priority to shut off the noise and reconnect with his father.

Luke writes in his Gospel, “Jesus would often withdraw to lonely places and pray.” He was intentional to find moments of isolation from the world to be in quiet with God. It was in this quietness that God would bring comfort and perspective and strengthen their relationship.

In the noise and chaos of our own society, the example Jesus leaves us is essential for a healthy Christian life. Today people are surrounded by white noise. Their phone never leaving their hands for more than a moment for fear they may miss the next update.

We have invented an entirely different and digital world to help us to check out of the one we were created to live in. Before getting out of bed, I check my Facebook story. Not much has changed since I looked last night. When setting out for my morning run, I have to make sure my podcast is downloaded. I’m currently going through the history of Rome. When I come across something photo worthy, I’ve got to take a picture and share on my story; my friends would want to see it. Because of the digital world I have created for myself, boredom is no longer an issue, there is an app for it. With boredom left quiet places and solitude. For many today, it has been replaced with overstimulation and disconnect from God. 

It is not that this digital world is evil but that must be managed in a healthy way. In fact, it has made life much easier and freed up a lot of people’s time. Today we can grocery shop from our phone, run a business online, manage bills and accounts, and use an app to keep up with devotional time.

However, if not managed correctly, it can bring feelings of loneliness and depression. Poor mental health has been linked to the overstimulation and constant white noise of the digital world. What is perhaps most worrisome is that the noise and chaos of this world has removed the quietness that people need to contemplate God. They can now shut out the thought of him and replace it with an online distraction. 

Every person of faith, and even those without, should look back to the example that Jesus left. As he grew in reputation, getting away wasn’t easy. It needed to be intentional. The world was always busy, so it was up to him to make the time to strengthen his relationship with the father.

This certainly speaks to us with our busy schedules and dual worlds. Planned time to be with God will bring order to the chaos of life.

In addition, Jesus looked for places of isolation. Distraction was always around, so he needed to find a place where he could be focused on God alone. Often this meant withdrawing to a mountainside for prayer. This isolation removed the distractions that could steal his focus. The momentary disconnection allowed him to reconnect with God.

This practice would work well today. Our distractions may come in the form of notifications and updates, but the principle of isolation will bring interaction with God. At the end of the day, or where ever it works best for you, it is important to find a quiet place, shut off the noise, and listen for God. He is there in the still small voice.

Micheal Hurlbert is the pastor of Carson City’s First Christian Church.