Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Sound of Silence

Post by: Kyle Rasmussen

As another year draws to a close, music connoisseurs everywhere start to opine on their “best music of the year” lists. One of the most surprising tracks that dominated radio this 2016 was the band Disturbed and their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “The Sound of Silence”. I have to admit, David Draiman essentially shattered the preconception of what a heavy metal vocalist should sound like, and I found myself over and over again this past year turning the radio up to listen to him demonstrate his amazing range.

I’m certainly not lost on the irony of cranking the volume up to listen to a song called “The Sound of Silence.” Listening to any music was a nice escape the past 12 months. We all spent most of 2016 mired in a brutal presidential campaign of endless sound bites, vicious attacks, and a true testing of our faith in the sovereignty of the God that we serve. Unfortunately any hope that a reduction in noise would follow Election Day is most seemingly lost.

Noise is a concept I deal with in the scientific community quite frequently. Not audible noise, but variability which disrupts the ability to detect a signal from analyzers. Having too much noise relative to the signal (what we could call a poor signal-to-noise ratio) can result in a false negative – where a certain condition exists but you are unable to detect it. One of the best analogies I’ve heard to explain this is that the noise is the grass of the Serengeti, and the signal is a lion. If you’re on safari and wanted to know if there’s a lion prowling around waiting for someone to devour (like 1 Peter 5:8), it would be much easier if the grass (the noise) was low to detect the lion (the signal).

One of my favorite verses from the book of Psalms is 46:10- Be still, and know that I am God. We’re told to silence the outside noise, eschew the distractions, and in that peace God will reveal himself. Yet even when God brings calm, we may find ourselves unprepared to His presence. And (Jesus) awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be Still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and waves obey him?” (Mark 4:39-41)

So if we can’t always reduce the noise, maybe the best way to find God in our lives is crank up the signal? Maybe that lion is not prowling and waiting to devour us but is of Proverbs 28:1? - The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. I think there are several ways this can be accomplished.

First, step outside of your comfort zone! It doesn’t have to be immensely bold, but when given the opportunity to act in the image of God, don’t hesitate. Seize the moment to live the Gospel! From experience, I can tell you that when you open yourself up and commit to doing this, God will present you with opportunities – He knows what’s on your heart and is more than willing to give you the chance to live it out!

Second, crank up the signal of God’s word! I know there’ s only 168 hours in every week and sleep is super important – but find a way to make the time for Bible study. My best advice on this is crowd source the commitment by joining (or starting up) a study with friends or family. Make it “homework free”, just pick a reading plan and regular time to read together and amazing things will transpire from the group.

Lastly just crank up the volume of your worship and praise! David says in 2 Samuel 6, I was dancing before the LORD…He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the LORD, so I celebrate before the LORD. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! In this competitive, keep-up-with-the-Jones’ society that we live in, how great is it that we serve a God to whom we don’t need to impress? If we worship and thank God in a worry-free style, I can guarantee that the signal back will be louder and clearer than if we try to wrap our praise in some sterile, clean-up-my-life-first-before-I-can-show-God sort of way.

As we enter into the Christmas season, many who spend 11+ months of the year distant from God draw a little closer to experience the greatest gift ever given. Don’t get caught up in the noise, and don’t merely abstain by practicing the sound of silence. Be the loud, bold, clear signal of God’s love: the Gospel of Jesus that is there 24/7/365, for all of 2017 and forevermore.

Kyle Rasmussen and his family currently live in Centerville, UT and attend The Bridge Community Church. He is a Quality Control Specialist with Holly Energy Partners in the greater Salt Lake City area.

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