Welcome back to Encouragement From the Word! It’s good to be back in the saddle. My time off was, in part, a study in contrasts. To mark our 25th wedding anniversary (which is actually next Tuesday), my wife and I embarked on a four-night trip to Las Vegas. Following that, I went on retreat at a monastery for a few days.
Yep, that’s quite a difference.
I learned a lot about life during our visit to Sin City. One of the most profound takeaways for me was the need some people have constantly to be stimulated. If you’re one of those people, Vegas is your place. Without exaggeration, the only places where we could escape from some sort of aural or visual stimulation were our hotel room, and the hallway that led to it. Every other place we went in Las Vegas had lights flashing, music playing, bells ringing – always something stimulating the senses.
It seems to me that it’s not healthy for us to experience constant stimulation. Sometimes, we need the silence, we need the stillness – for our own sanity, frankly – but also if we have any hope of hearing from God.
There’s a comic frame that has made its way around social media over the last several years, picturing a sheep in a chaise lounge wearing sunglasses, with a computer on his lap, a TV in front of him, a radio blaring behind him, and an iPod connected to his headphones. He’s reading one from a pile of magazines that are stacked on top of his Bible, and he asks, “I wonder why I don’t hear from the shepherd anymore?”
The answer is obvious, and the comic challenges us. We need time away from the noise, so we can hear from God.
What allowance do you make for quiet time? A few days praying with monks was good for me, but it wasn’t enough; I need time daily, away from the noise. So do you.
The Lord Jesus, during his ministry in Palestine, often found crowds of people drawn to him. And he was compassionate toward the people and brought healing and life to many. But the Bible also says this about him: “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5.16, NLT). Even Jesus needed a quiet place and a quiet time. So do you. What will you do to make that happen in this season of trying new things?