Hear the real mes­sage not just the white noise

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - Tim Bowles

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

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