Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Be Still?!

I climbed into my car a little after 4:00AM. The air was cool and the sky was clear, bursting with stars. I was on my way to the airport in the Twin Cities to catch a flight to Chicago. As I pulled out of my driveway the road was empty. I reflected on how much I like driving in the early morning when the world is asleep. I enjoy the feeling of solitude. Heading into town I encountered a couple of cars. I always wonder what people are doing driving around at 4:00 AM. I'm sure they were wondering the same thing about me.

For the first hour of my trip I had the road mostly to myself. Occasionally I met an on-coming car, but there was no traffic to speak of. Then about 5:00AM I hit the freeway. Immediately I was aware that things had changed. I was no longer alone. There was a constant stream of cars and trucks heading south as I headed north. Soon I was into traffic, surrounded by other cars all going somewhere. The closer I got to the Cities the heavier the traffic got.

As I maneuvered my way through the traffic I thought about how we have become a culture that doesn't rest. We are constantly on the move. Our factories operate around the clock. A person can buy groceries at midnight or shop for school supplies at 2:00AM. With all of the advances in technology people never seen to shut down. Cell phones dominate our lives; they have replaced the security blanket for many people. When my plane landed I was amused at how quickly the cell phones emerged. Our environment is filled with noise. It is almost impossible to find a quiet place. I had about an hour to wait in the airport for my return flight. I pulled out a book to read but I had a hard time. The waiting area was dominated by a TV screen that blared CNN from multiple places in the ceiling.

It takes real effort for us to stop and be still. Everything in our environment is working against us. All of us need to unplug regularly so that we can experience the presence of God in our lives. The Psalm 46:10 tells us,  "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." God rarely shouts above the noise and activity of life. Instead He patiently waits for us to stop and notice that He is present.

We have been programmed to fill our lives with distractions. I saw an ad the other day for a particular cell phone that allows you to play games, listen to music and access 5000 apps. Oh and it makes phone calls as well. It is no wonder that we live frantic lives. We need to find ways to be still and listen to God. For many people to be quiet and still is a frightening experience. God invites us to overcome our fear; to be still and know that He is God.

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