The Peace Strangler
Mary was a struggling young businesswoman who was brought up in a Christian home and had a deep faith in the Lord. She began to feel an emptiness and loss of connection between her, her church, and her Lord. She struggled for months and could not find an answer to what seemed like a tall brick wall between her and God. Maybe she was too busy. Maybe her life was too hectic and the stress of her job requirements, competition, late hours at the office, and social activities were just getting to be too much.
So, she decided to take a break. She would go visit her Grandmother in the mountains of Tennessee in a little town near Gatlinburg, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Besides, she was due a vacation anyway.
She loaded up her car and drove to Tennessee. It was good to see her Grandmother and Grandad again, to sit on the front porch on that old porch swing and enjoy the hills, trees, blue sky and peace that nature brings. The second day of her visit, her Grandmother sat beside her on that porch swing, patted her lightly on the hand and said, “Dear, what is it that is bothering you?”
“I don’t know Grandmother,” She replied. “I feel empty. And the closeness I used to feel with the Lord just isn’t there anymore like it used to be. There is no time for anything for myself and I don’t know what to do about it. How did this happen?”
Her Grandmother looked out and surveyed the surrounding countryside, took a sip of her steaming hot coffee and said, “It’s very simple, dear. You’re too busy. That old enemy, the devil, has used his strategy on you.”
“What are you saying? I’m living right. I’m not out sinning and carrying on.”
“I didn’t say you were, honey. That’s not the strategy of the strangler of peace. His strategy is much more subtle. More sneaky, but very devastating. Devastating to your life, your peace, and ultimately to your soul.”
“You see, we live in a world of noise,” she continued. “Our televisions take up half a wall in our homes and broadcast 24/7. If we’re awake, and even in our sleep, they broadcast into our ears, through our minds, and into our hearts. What are we allowing to stream into our consciousness? In our cars, we have AM and FM radio, CDs, iPads, and various other devices — and now, satellite radio. Noise inescapable. How wonderful and marvelous are all these devices bringing streams of noise which enter into our ears, through our minds, and into our hearts. And just in case we might have a peaceful moment as we walk from our home to our car, we have another miracle device which masquerades as a telephone that we plug directly into our ears, sending noise straight through our minds, and into our hearts. And yet we cry, Why can’t I have any peace in my life? Why can’t I ever hear from the Lord? The answer is simple … noise. The cares of this life. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote,
‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.’ (Romans 8:5 NIV)
Dear, I would like to introduce to you an old concept that is foreign in our world today, a concept which many people can’t conceive of. That concept is silence. Yes, silence. There is a reason why Jesus made the statement,
‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ (Matthew 11:15)
How can we ever expect to have peace or hear from the Lord if we constantly dunk our heads into the cauldron of noise, that cauldron of news, weather, sports, and music? Now, make no mistake, I love all those things as much as you do but sometimes we’ve got to take a break, pull our heads out of the noise, and be still. Be still And listen. Listen to the silence which is available to He who has ears to hear.
Try to sit still in total silence for 10 minutes. Just listen to the silence. Do you want to have peace? Do you want to hear from the Lord? Here is your starting point. Now I’m going to leave you and go inside for a while but you sit here and just listen with your ears to the silence around you and the Lord’s spirit within you. And be at peace.”
Mary found her peace, and a new and vibrant relationship with her Lord, right there on the old porch swing at her Grandmother’s house.
Now, dear reader, sit in silence for 10 minutes.