Stop and Listen
We are often distracted by many noises – yes, noises. Normally, we associate noise with a sound that prevents us from hearing clearly. In the physical realm, we are unable to listen attentively when the noise is too loud. However, noise also occurs in our spiritual lives. A noise can be anything that prevents us from connecting with God at any given point in time. There are situations and elements in our lives that prevent us from listening to what God has to say.
The work we do can become noise. We have become so engrossed in the daily task of providing for our families and our physical needs and wants, that our job has consumed 80% of our time. Hours are lost in traffic going to and from a job. It is always a hustle to get the children up and prepared for school. Then we have to rush to work to clock a time-card. As we face the day’s work, there is a surmountable amount of backlog to complete – sometimes finding ourselves working through lunch. There is no time for meditation as the next day seems to race against itself and then another day is here to do the routine over again.
The friends we keep can become noise. Sometimes when our friends speak words to us, it limits our potential growth. For example, “That is not a good business idea.” or “Are you sure you have time for that?”. When you are trying to push through the fear and doubt, there are limiting words that plays tug-of-war with your intended actions. There is an adage that says, “Friends would take you but won’t bring you back”. This does not only mean taking you to a physical place, but it can also mean taking you to a mentally discouraged state and leaving you there.
The excessive extra activities can become noise. There are so many extra activities that have consumed our time. Practises, sports, parties, socialising, etc. It never seems to have any time to do anything else. Our bodies are sometimes battered and bruised, and our minds have become exhausted. We feel obligated to continue to engage in other activities without rest and reflection. Do not get me wrong – balance is important. It is necessary to engage in an activity that you love and gives you peace. However, when those activities threaten your physical and spiritual health it becomes dangerous.
Religion can become noise. This is a topic I must tread lightly. Religion is great and worship is wonderful. However, we work and play so hard we often find ourselves giving God the last of our energy. We have become so busy between Monday to Saturday, that we often fall asleep in church during Sunday’s worship – we are physically and mentally tired. Religion becomes noise when you are just going through the motions. Your body may be in the presence of the Lord – but where is the mind and spirit.
The COVID-19 virus has introduced several changes to our daily routine. It has forced has to stay indoors and stop all activities: the virus has placed us in quarantine. Or is it really the virus that has placed us in quarantine? We can look at this quarantine period in two (2) ways: the restriction of human rights that prevents us from engaging in activities or God forcing us to stop and listen. I rather the latter. Everything around us stopped and listened.
Nature stopped and listened!
Governments stopped and listened!
Mankind stopped and listened!
We were so busy accommodating the noise around us. God forced us to STOP. In this reflection period many of us were able to think and decide what was the next move. During this period, business ideas were born, relationships mended, and our body restored.
Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the LORD's anger has passed (Isaiah 26:20). God realized that we were placing other things in front of Him. We had lost focus as disciples. He needed to reclaim some time by quieting the noise. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away (Job 1:21). If we continue to ignore Him and not recognize Him in everything that we do: whether it’s in our jobs, taking care of our families, engaging in hobbies and even going to church, He will ensure that we stop and listen to what he has to say.