“I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints — but let them not return to folly.” — Psalm 85:8 (NIV)
I am the lightest of sleepers. And being awakened at night by noises is often a disastrous recipe for exhaustion. That’s why I love my white noise machine; a round, little electronic contraption that sits beside my bed. It’s my nightly sanity-saver.
Before I obtained this clever contraption, I lost sleep due to a snoring spouse or midnight-snacking teenager. As a result, I was cranky and cantankerous; frazzled and fruitless. As a sleep-deprived soul, I became unproductive, easily distracted and down-right ineffective at life.
Thankfully, now my nocturnal helper ushers me quickly to la-la land (and allows me to stay there) with one of its many options: waves crashing, birds chirping, or a thunderstorm gently rolling in. The steady, constant stream of soothing sound magically drowns out any background distractions.
I have found the same to be true with our spiritual lives. If we want to focus on the importance of listening to God though prayer, Bible study and time simply sitting still before Him, we must drown out all distractions.
When our screaming schedules, messy houses, unpaid bills, or idle pastimes such as television or the Internet aren’t intentionally blocked for a time, we will never reach the important stage of resting and receiving direction from God each day.
Jesus Himself was a master at drowning out distractions. A quick read through the New Testament will find Him often withdrawing to a lonely corner, getting up early to pray or locating a place of calm focus amidst a clanging throng of people.
Jesus purposed to find peace among the pandemonium.
Likewise in the Old Testament, the Psalmists often list peace, calm, and quiet as gifts given to those who earnestly seek the Lord and desire to walk in His ways.
Embedded in today’s key verse is such a promise to us as well: peace to God’s people. But the precursor to experiencing that peace is listening to what the Lord has to say. And for listening to occur, we have to be able to actually hear from God, focused and free from all that clamors for our attention.
So, just as I plug in my slumber device each night, we must also unplug for a time each day. Shut off the phone; the TV; the laptops and iPads. Ignore the dishes, the paperwork and the screaming schedules so we can drift off to a peaceful place where sweet Jesus is waiting — desiring for us to be still and listen long enough to actually hear Him speak to our hearts.
Drowning in so many daily distractions can keep us from hearing God’s voice. Let’s purpose together to drown out our distractions instead, and tune in to the life-giving Word. He is the only steady source from which we can ever find true and lasting peace.
By Karen Ehman
Dear Lord, give me courage to unplug, determination to focus and patience to listen. I want to bask in Your peace and walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.