I had a friend, and wherever they went, they had to listen to music. They ate all their meals at the dining room table with music playing in the background, ran with music in their ears, and even slept at night with music playing on their stereo. During a moment of Christian solitude, when everyone sat in silence for fifteen minutes in prayer, they burst into tears. They could not bear the silence, and in the silence, all the problems and struggles they had been avoiding crashed upon them, like a giant wave.
That may seem like an extreme example, yet I honestly believe that in this modern digital world, we have become over-saturated with sound. I suggest pausing from what you a reading now. What do you hear? Maybe you are fortunate enough to be in the open air, but so often, we are surrounded by the buzzing of fridges, the humming microwaves, the incoherent chatter of the television, the beeping of speakers connecting with Bluetooth and the constant swelling of music. Music is everywhere. Each day everybody, whether they know Christ or far from him, are constantly inundated with artificial and recorded sound. Some it will be sinful, promoting promiscuity, idol-worship and representing a world where God does not exist. Plenty of the music and chatter will be banal and repetitive. Yet some of it will be beautiful and heart-lifting. I am not here to address music, or podcasts, or television in themselves, but the abuse of them.
Sometimes I have days in which I know I have gone too far. The best of music strains my ears, no longer giving me joy, but instead an aching feeling of sickness. Good sermons by Godly men from previous generations, thankfully recorded on tapes and reproduced online, drain me, and no longer give life, if I listen to them too much. This made me think. Why do we constantly have noise streaming, like an unstoppable current, into our eardrums? This obsession with noise has filtered into the church. Can a preacher not pray a prayer to conclude his sermon without a musician already tuning and strumming his guitar? Am I allowed to take communion without the keyboardist playing one long emotional note to "get me in the mood" to talk to God?
For the unbeliever, an absence of sound means the presence of a Holy God, who, despite them ignoring, is real and is greatly displeased with them. In Romans 1:18, the Apostle Paul says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." According to this passage, non-Christians, deep down, know that there is a God, know the truth that they have ignored this God and have gone against his ways and they are deserving of God's wrath. If you are not saved by Christ, being alone with God is a terrible thing. I know that some are sadly content with the delusions their own hearts have created, but for many, having to face the reality of their situation, cannot bear it. In that case, anything that can delay the inevitable brings slight, fading relief to anyone under God's wrath. Whether it is music, theatre, political debates, movies, anything at all that can distract them from the fact that God is always there.
Silence does not save you. It does not change you. Only Christ's death on the cross can save a sinner. Yet silence can illuminate the real man or the real woman, unhindered from the constant emotional drug of noise, in all its forms, which we use to artificially lift our spirits and manipulate our moods. If you do not know God, stop distract yourself from him. Find a quiet spot and talk to him. Ask him to save you from your sin. He can do it, he has opened the gate through Christ. For the believer, who can often have something playing in their ears, know that you are in Christ. Saved by God's son, redeemed and now a member of God's family, with access to God's holy throne room by prayer, through Jesus, who you are united with spiritually and will soon be physically. A Christian can stand still in the presence of God and live. They do not need to run or hide, like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Be judicious with what you put in your ears, and instead of being afraid of silence, embrace it as an opportunity to be with your creator alone.
This article was contributed by Benjamin Clow