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Be Still and Know
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Technology has changed our lives dramatically in the last century. Personally, I cannot imagine going back to the days of reading by candlelight, traveling by horse and buggy and no indoor plumbing. Lately though, I have been thinking a lot about the subtle ways that technology has robbed us of some essential elements in our lives.

As I was driving along the highway recently, I remembered reading about how terrified the first train passengers were as they sped along faster than they had dreamed possible. Now we rush along at much greater speeds than those first trains traveled. And I wonder, what am I missing as I hurry down the highway? A horse and buggy might be slow, but the opportunities to observe and appreciate the wonder and beauty of God’s creation are missing in my hurry-up-and-get-there trips.

Recently, I was reminded that music has not always been at our fingertips as it is today. Without CD players, MP3’s and the radio, people created their own music and it often included the interaction of family and friends as they sang and played together. Now, too often, earphones seem to be permanently attached as young people fade away into their own world. In the past, music has focused on a rich heritage of songs from each generation and the pleasure of enjoying them together. Music today often focuses on popular performers and their lives.

Without My Computer?

I can’t imagine being without my computer, but the reality is that when used for entertainment, a computer is a one person affair. Again, how easy it is to fade into a world far removed from those around us as we are tempted to spend much of our free time interacting in online chat rooms and being entertained by computer games, videos, etc.  
When I was growing up, our phone was on a party line. There were many times when we had to wait to make or receive a call because someone else was using the line. Now with cell phones we are sometimes impatient when we cannot reach someone immediately. Oftentimes our instant availability becomes yet another distraction to fill our every waking moment.

Is it possible that we are losing the ability to just sit and be still, to contemplate, to connect with those around us? At times we feel swept along by popular culture because we simply don’t have time or quietness to consider for ourselves the implications of the changes taking place around us or what God thinks about it. We feel solitary, but not at peace.

In the Old Testament, Elijah found God in the still, small voice. (I Kings 19:12). David says, “Be still, and know that I am God. . .” (Psalms 46:10). I’m convinced that technology often robs us of the precious commodities of stillness and connectedness. And it seems that it is only in being still, still enough to hear God’s voice that we can truly connect with Him. It is in disconnecting ourselves from all the distractions around us that we can truly connect with each other.

So while I enjoy all the wonderful conveniences that technology brings to my life, I want to be more careful to listen for that “still, small voice.” Like Samuel I want to hear God calling and be able to say, “Speak Lord, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10).

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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