Noise. It is a word I find myself thinking and saying quite a bit this last week.
I feel like I have had an excess of noise in my life this week. The noise of the fight that ensued Wednesday night while trying to clean up the kitchen. Loud voices to express flaring tempers resulted in a flurry of unpleasant noise. The noise of the conversation Thursday night in discussing a recent incident. Disappointed voices trying to find healing (common) ground in actions and reactions, resulting in unresolved issues after hurt expressed emotions. The noise of curiosity at work yesterday regarding friendly conversations with the techs. A concerned voice asking questions about busyness that interrupted a peaceful moment of laughter at the end of a chaotic day.
And as I think about everything, the current context is noise. Those sights, sounds, thoughts, and experiences meant to draw us close to God. Yet sometimes they have the opposite effect.
- To distract instead of focus
- To influence negatively instead of positively
- To persuade away from God’s will instead of into it
- To deceive instead of truthfully inform
- To conform instead of reform
- To compare instead of appreciate
- To make jealous instead of cherish
- To bring dissension instead of peace and harmony
- To make hopeless instead of infuse with hope
- To push down instead of lift up
- To reject instead of accept
- To deject instead of inspire
- To cause sorrow instead of bring happiness
- To discourage instead of encourage
- To accuse instead of listen
Noise in our heads. The voices of conflict that pull us in opposite directions in our search for truth. The voices of the law, full of rules and stipulations, battling the Voice of truth that pulls us toward Himself. The voices of selfishness, keeping us focused on ourselves, trying to drown out the Voice of love that encourages us to reach out to people.
1 Corinthians 13:1 says “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”. Meaning I can be the noise. I can be the noise in my life. I can be the reason I’m not hearing from God, I don’t feel connected to God, or I don’t feel loved by God. Maybe I am drowning out His grace. Maybe I am filtering out His love. Maybe I am denying myself His compassion. Maybe I am refusing His forgiveness.
I can also be the noise in someone else’s life. I can be the voice telling Noah he is crazy to build an ark when there is no such thing as water from the sky. I can be the voice of an Israelite whining at Moses that God is trying to kill me in the wilderness and I’d rather be back in my Egyptian slavery. I can be the voice of a Pharisee demanding that Jesus judge the woman caught in adultery (John 8). I can be a voice in the crowd demanding that Pilate crucify Jesus (Mark 15). I can be the voice of Abraham, begging God to save the city for just a few righteous people (Genesis 18). I can be the voice of Jonah that encouraged an entire city to repent (Jonah 3), or I can be the voice of Jonah who soon after berates God over the city’s turning to Him (Jonah 4). I can be the noise of praise that celebrates His goodness and points people to a miraculous God (1 Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 105:2).
No matter what the noise is in my life, there is good news. Psalm 93:4 says “The Lord on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea”. And Psalm 65:7 promises “You who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples”. He can help us tune out all the noise that tries to drown out His voice. He can help us silence the voices that are talking us out of His love. He can help us turn down the volume on all the negative influences so we can more clearly hear Him.
Noise is everywhere. Noise is all around us. There will always be noise. There will always be an influence [of sin] trying to draw us away from our Creator. There will always be pushy influences (wind – 1 Kings 19:11). There will always be loud influences (earthquake – 1 Kings 19:11). There will always be flashy influences (fire – 1 Kings 19:12).
And bigger than any of these things is our loving Father. His “a still small voice [whisper]” (1 Kings 19:12) will always speak volumes of love. Will always beckon us to come to Him without hesitation or hindrances. Will always be able to overcome the noise in our life.
And as I look at my life and I think about the noise, I realize it is important. For it is going to qualify what kind of person I really am. It is going to strengthen my faith. It is going to prove what I really believe. So I am praying to filter out God’s voice, God’s influence, God’s love, and God’s direction from all the noise. For only in listening for and following His holy whisper can the noise not affect me, hurt me, redirect me, or influence me.
Help me Jesus to process the noise correctly so that Your purposes are accomplished and Your name is glorified. Help me to be a person who hears, sees, and knows You despite the noise of life (Matthew 13:15). AMEN!
Marie Fremin, 2/14/16
BONUS SCRIPTURE GRAPH OF MY THOUGHTS: