There is a noise that we are all dealing with today. No, not one that we can pick up in our ears. This noise is different. It is the noise in our culture, in the world around us, in our daily lives. It is in our very soul.
Discerning the source of this noise can be a tricky thing, for it is woven throughout our world around us. It is pervasive, entangling our thoughts, our conversations and our desires. It creates an anxiety deep within, and we may not even realize it.
It isn’t hard to see why there are so many who are unhappy, why there is such a therapeutic mindset in our culture, why there are so many seeking help for relief from the noise that is going on inside.
But, like the song, we tend to “look for peace in all the wrong places.”
Instead of looking to the source of true joy, peace and rest for our hearts, we instead often run for the very desires that will add even more noise to our hearts.
Here is how it happens: We so easily buy into the notion that “…if only I had the job I want; if only I had the car I want; if only I were taller, or thinner; if only I had nicer clothes; if I were just more talented…I want to be more comfortable; I want to feel better physically; I want to have more confidence; I want…”
All of these expressed desires add up to noise in our soul.
King David learned the secret that we all need—the one we are all looking for whether we know it or not. He trusted in God,and fully believed that the sovereign Lord would add to his life any and all things that were really important.
Listen to his words from Psalm 131:
…I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul… (Psalm 131:1b-2a ESV)
How did he accomplish that? How could he come to have such contentment?
In my own life, I have learned that it is one thing to declare that I trust in God. It is another thing to put that trust into action.
Several years back, I was privileged to be able to spend a day with a very well-known Christian singer, driving him to a series of meetings at different churches where he greeted groups and performed.
In-between meetings, as we were talking in my car, he brought me in on a decision that he had to finalize that very day. In addition to being a singer, he was a pilot, and he had been offered a gift from a wealthy friend—a helicopter!
I was amazed at the opportunity of being able to talk to this man as he worked his way through the decision of whether to accept the gift. By the end of our time together, he decided to turn down his friend’s generous offer.
Why did he say no? It wasn’t like he wouldn’t have enjoyed it. He turned it down because he knew that it was “too marvelous” for him. It would have changed his life in a way that was outside God’s peace, and the more he thought about the responsibility that would come from owning that craft, the more stress it brought to his heart.
In the end, he saw that it wasn’t God’s will for him. He let out a breath and said: ”I’m just going to put it out of my mind…I can’t think about it anymore.” Decision made.
We all have decisions to make over issues that might add more “noise” to our lives. It is important that we follow David’s example and learn to quiet our souls—and avoid those things that rob us of peace.