Stopped

Today, technology has provided us so many things to look at, so many things to listen to. We have a screen size for every activity, from a one inch square on our wrist to a seventy-inch screen on our wall. We have access to every movie and every song and every book, instantly, wherever we are. We can carry the world in our pockets. Every event from around the world is fed to us in real-time in a never-ending stream of alerts.

Everyone has at some point heard the saying, “God gave you two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. You should be looking and listening more than talking.” So the question is, did He give us those two eyes and two ears to be filled with the soundtrack of our making or of His? Instead of being more connected, we are being drawn inward and becoming more and more isolated.

With everything that promises to make our lives easier we become more overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel so overloaded that we yearn for peace in our minds. So we cram earbuds into our ears to remove distractions from around us. Then we spend fifteen minutes scrolling through tens of thousands of songs to find just the right ones, and pipe our finely-tuned playlist direct to our eardrums. But even then, the constant stream of background beeps and bloops and pings and dings interrupt the calm and peace we so desperately sought in the first place.

Despite this, certainly God is trying to get our attention. Certainly He is speaking to all of us. Just because we’re can’t hear Him over the din of electronics doesn’t mean He isn’t still trying to get through to us. But everyone is moving so fast today that who is listening? Instead of looking up and looking around, instead of listening to the soundtrack He provides for us, we keep trying harder every day to find new ways to shut Him out.

So what if, in order to grab our attention, He snapped His fingers and everything just… stopped?

What if cell phones became silent bricks in our pockets? What if TVs were nothing more than quiet black rectangles? What if the incessant hum of every fan of electrical device around us went mute? And what if all the other machines stopped too? No cars, no trucks, no airplane roars or helicopter whirs, no sirens, no chainsaws, no mowers or leaf blowers. Would you listen for Him then?

What if streams were things you fished in? What if “feed” was a verb again, instead of a noun? What if you once again heard the sound of your feet crunching over gravel or squishing in wet grass? What if the most beautiful song was the symphony of birds singing in the morning? Would you listen for God then? What if — indeed, what if — you heard God’s whisper for you in the wind blowing through the trees?

How can we have a relationship with God when we’re never listening anymore? Like a parent trying to get through to their kid, will God have to turn everything off for us to finally listen? Will He have to literally shake us to get us to raise our eyes away from the dancing images on whatever screen we have in front of our nose? Would we listen then?

What if everything stopped… except the beating of your heart?

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