We used to own a car that clattered. We could never locate the source. The Hubs thought it was the driver window. I was certain it was something in the dashboard. We’d go down the road getting tenser with each mile of clackity-clack-click-clack. Finally, I announced to the Hubs, “I can fix it!”
“How?” he muttered, devoid of all faith in my ability.
I reached for the stereo volume and cranked it up as far as tolerable, proceeding to sing along loudly. He raised his eyebrows, more impressed than he expected to be.
It was a great fix for an unfixable annoyance.
We’ve all used noise in innocuous ways to drown out the clickity-clack of life. When I get migraines, they are thankfully not the type that require total silence and complete darkness. Of course, please do not, during a migraine, subject me to your new drum solo or the glare off your car! I’ve learned that a low volume television show can help the pain of a migraine move to the background. But heaven forbid my sweet husband mutes the commercials and tries to carry on a conversation with me. I need that noise! It is helping me ignore my pain!
I’ve used noise in beneficial ways to drown out my emotional pain. My mind tends to get stuck in ruts. The silence at my vanity while I’m getting ready in the morning may seem like a safe place, but it can turn into a minefield of painful memories and relived arguments. Going through a time of betrayal several years ago, I learned that I needed to take control over what I allowed my mind to feast on during those morning hours. Instead of reliving the pain every morning, I began listening to worship music or podcasts. It helped to break the cyclical thinking and hoist me out of my rut.
But something was piggybacking on my great way of escape. I was becoming addicted to noise.
There is no evil in noise, and certainly not worship music or podcasts, but it had become a crutch. It was my means of silencing pain and turmoil. When the music stopped, the pain returned. I noticed myself absentmindedly reaching for my phone and fumbling to restart the music, the podcast – the good things that were keeping me from the one thing that I truly needed. What started as a great way to change my focus, was masking my need for deeper emotional healing and freedom.
I’m afraid I’m not alone. Many of us have unwittingly become addicted to noise, to multitasking, to never sitting still. When we let silence creep in, it brings pain with it. So, we turn the volume up louder and add another distraction to shove the pain into a corner of our minds. Where we used to daydream, we have lost our capacity to enjoy our own company and be creative. Our discomfort with quiet even begins to invade our ability to be silent before the Lord.
I don’t believe our Father is content with masking our pain. It may be helpful in the short-term to get control of our thoughts, but it isn’t the long-term solution He desires for us. He doesn’t band-aid deep wounds; He heals them. Healing may be the more difficult option as it churns up the pain to allow it to leave our lives. But the pain of emotional healing is an opportunity for freedom.
Jesus is always focused on healing us. Part of His stated mission is “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). And in Isaiah 53:4-5, He says that He will bear away our griefs and sorrows and we will find our healing by His wounds. He is focused on our healing even if the road to get there appears treacherous and painful. Can we be silent enough to sit with Him and allow Him to walk us through that painful road? Can we pursue our emotional healing with Him instead of masking our pain? It may be time, dear Friend, to stop trying to drown your pain in noise. It may well be time to come out of hiding and get your real, deep, lasting healing.
In Mark chapter 8, we read about Jesus healing a blind man. But this healing doesn’t seem to go according to the usual form. First, the Lord takes this man out of the village, away from anything that would distract or detract. Then, as the Lord laid His hands on him, the man gets a degree of healing, but his blindness wasn’t completely healed. He could see people and movement, but the details still weren’t there for him.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Well, I’m glad you’re so much better! You should be able to get along okay now that you can see some.” No. Partial healing, though it was miraculous and offered this man so much more freedom than he previously had, was not all the Lord wanted for him. The Lord wanted total healing for this man and He wants deep, total healing for you.
Can we practice stillness? Can we sit before the Lord in silence long enough for His Spirit to do His work in our hearts? If we can allow the Lord to bring us out, away from the distractions and the detractors, He will show us our need, He will reach out to heal, and He won’t stop until our healing is complete. We can again be healed from torment so that we can savor silence.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Ami Loper writes online, has a one-minute weekly vlog and preaches in a variety of venues with a goal of allowing the Lord to move. Her desire is to see her testimony and her teaching bring a message that is not just informational or inspirational, but transformational. Ami and her husband, Tim, have three grown daughters, three long prayed for sons-in-law and seven of the grandest Grands in the world. Contact her at amiloper.com to invite her to speak or to read her blogs, view her vlogs and hear her messages. Follow her on Instagram (@amiloper), Facebook (Ami Loper – Speaker & Writer), YouTube (ami loper).