Part of my “stay at home” discipline has been to read more books in a variety of topic areas. I have already finished five books covering topics like: Prayer, our relationship with God, proclamation evangelism, and leadership. I am presently working on a Donald Miller book entitled, Building a Story Brand.
In Building a Story Brand, Miller talks about the noise in our storytelling that has nothing to do with the story. It muddies the water and causes people to disengage with our storytelling because it no longer answers the questions they are asking in the midst of the story. In speaking of noise, he writes, “There is an obvious difference between a well-choreographed piece of music and the sound of a cat chasing a rat through a wind- chime factory, which is the equivalent of the average corporate website, keynote speech, or elevator pitch” (16). He later writes, “Story is similar to music. A good story takes a series of random events and distills them into the essence of what really matters” (17).
In our present shelter at home condition, there is a lot of noise as we engage news articles, social media posts, and listen to friends and family on both sides of the conversation. The noise drowns out the harmony and melody of life as it is easy to become overwhelmed with the noise. In the state of being overwhelmed, we often place our hands over our ears, shutting out the noise, while also shutting out our opportunity to hear the fullness of the harmony and melody we actually seek.
In Habakkuk 2:20 we read, “But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.” There is a place in life where we have to remove ourselves from the incessant noise, placing ourselves at the feet of Jesus. Margaret Therkelsen in her book Love Exchange shares about her quiet time spent with God each day. In that time in the early morning hours, she found a place where God’s love for her was affirmed as she studied the Scriptures, prayed, and listened to the still small voice of the Lord.
The noise is not only external, coming from the noise around us, but can also come from the noise within us. After Elijah experiences the power of God at work on Mount Carmel, Jezebel sends a message to him that she will find him and kill him. The noise in Elijah’s own mind begins to drown out his memory of God’s victory and sustaining power. The noise in his own mind drowns out the times God has already taken care of him during the drought and how God used him to proclaim the holding back of the rain and the beginning of the rain. As Elijah sits down under a broom tree, he says, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died” (1 Kings 19:4). The Lord provides food for Elijah and then calls for him to go to Mount Sinai where the Lord will speak to Elijah. On Mount Sinai, the Lord is not in the fire, the wind, or the earthquake. Yet, the Lord is in the still small voice that speaks to Elijah. He had to quiet the noise within and get away from the external noise so he could hear the still small voice of the Lord.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the noise around you in our present shelter at home condition? Are you struggling to hear the harmony and the melody of the Lord’s voice? I want to invite you to set apart time where you shut off all the outside noise and center yourself on Jesus. To quiet your inner spirit, seek the Lord’s guidance and help. Take time to journal the stream of thoughts that serve as noise in your life. Shower your love on God and discover God’s love showering down on you. We will make it through these noisy days with God’s help and guidance. If we try to do this alone, we will be like Elijah ready to throw our hands up and quit. Don’t quit—seek the Lord—hear his still small voice.