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Quiet Amidst The Loud

June 25, 2020

The world feels loud right now. It seems like everywhere I go, there is noise. The static of opinions. The gentle hum of anger, building. The buzz of discontent. The tension and the roar seem to grow bigger by the day.   

I am no stranger to noise. We are currently raising four kids in a small home. We love our cozy space but sometimes it feels like there is nowhere to go to escape the ruckus. Don’t get me wrong, our house is often filled with happy noises: laughter, jokes, giggles. But sometimes, the sounds turns to snark and grumbles and anger and it’s during those times that the volume feels overwhelming.

I used to work with a woman who also had four kids. Her children were grown and starting their own families as I was starting mine. Since she had successfully raised her children to adulthood, I would often ask my coworker for advice. I recall once asking her how she had handled it when her kids fought. She said, “as they got louder, I would get quiet.” Her reasoning was that if she yelled at them for yelling, it just made things more chaotic. If she spoke quietly, they were forced to also be quiet in order to hear her. Brilliant!

Sometimes, in this noisy world we are living in, I’m tempted to raise my voice to match my rising temper so that my noise can be louder than all the other noise. My coworker was right: it only results in more chaos. 

It is absolutely necessary to speak up sometimes, both for yourself and for those who don’t have a voice. I just know that it’s impossible for me to talk and listen simultaneously. When I’m busy making noise all the time, it’s hard for me to hear what God is saying. I have to deliberately seek out times and spaces to practice stillness, to wait in the (sometimes uncomfortable) silence in order to listen for Him. 

During times like these I am drawn to scripture about quiet, calm, and peace. Images of walking beside quiet waters (Psalm 23) or of being held up by the hand of God (Isaiah 41:10) or of unloading all my worries on Him (1 Peter 5:7) are really appealing right now. Verses of hope and help (Psalm 71:14), of justice being shown (Isaiah 61:11), and of God being in control (Luke 12:22-26) bring me a measure of comfort. I find that I am able to be still and quiet when I spend time in the word.

I’m finding that when I focus more on listening for the quiet whispers of hope and peace and comfort, I am less inclined to concentrate on the sounds of anger and discontent. And that the more I practice quiet stillness, the better able I am to ignore the buzz of the world. 

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