119- Stillness In God’s Creation
How do we hear God in today’s culture? Do we even have time to listen with the pace of our lives? Our lives are filled with more distractions than ever today with work, family, social media, and endless entertainment on the internet. Do we ever set time aside in our days to listen to God truly distraction-free with our phones within arms reach? There’s a power in stillness surrounded by God’s creation.
We live in the fastest-paced culture to ever exist. We are pushed to work more days and longer hours to push our careers. When we come home we are surrounded by entertainment that can almost be explained as catered to our interests, whether that be on YouTube or social media. It’s incredibly difficult to not be drawn into these distractions after a long day at work where you just want to sit down and relax. There has to be an intentional time set to spend time with God, even then distractions are right there begging for you to come back.
In fact, there are multiple biblical examples of people being called to the wilderness to be close to God. In the book of Kings we find Elijah running in fear of Jezebel’s threat on his life. Now Elijah isn’t exactly running to find God’s voice in the wilderness, more in fear of his life, but nonetheless, God’s voice comes to him. “Then the Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is passing by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains and shattered rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a soft, whispering voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12) God came to Elijah in a whisper, He wasn’t in the noise of earthquakes or fire but in a soft whispering voice. I remember hearing a similar comment from a mentor, I asked him how do we listen to God? His response was “God usually comes to us in a whisper, are we close enough to him to hear it?” For me and others, we feel closest to God when we can eliminate all the distractions of this world, which is easily done when you make it out to where those things may lose reception.
Spending time away from most worldly things can expose things we might miss without ever taking a break. We live in a day with lots of subtle idols, it may not always feel like we rotate around these things until we have that time away from them. Are you concerned about losing the opportunity to make more money while you’re taking a break? Are you having withdrawals from being connected to everyone else’s life on social media? What is it that sticks out that you can’t live without? Similar to Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism, our time in the wilderness can be a trial and filled with the devil’s temptations. We can not only use this time to identify these things but fully lean on God and use scripture, just like Jesus, to fight it. Sure it might add weight to your bag, but a small Bible and journal are always on our packing list.
A while back my family visited Haleakala in Maui. While we were at the top of a 10,000 ft inactive volcano above the clouds, my mom sat there and said “How can people look at this and not believe in God?” Seeing something as beautiful as being on top of a mountain looking down at the ocean or standing 200 ft above Lake Superior surrounded by fresh winter snow and ice covered cliffs, there’s a physical presence of God through his creation that is hard to feel outside of nature.“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”(Romans 1:20).
There’s a power in stillness surrounded by God’s creation. I believe we should all make time to go into the wilderness with the intention of truly connecting and listening to God’s whisper. It doesn’t have to be an extreme through hiking trip on the Appalachian trail unless that’s what you’re called to do. But take an intentional walk at your local nature trails, go visit a national park, and explore his creation. Instead of grabbing the selfie stick take in his creation, feel his presence in it, pray, and listen because he might just be waiting for you to take that time for him to talk to you.