Do you remember when reading was what you did when you were bored? Radio or television became early substitutes for reading. Now there is the internet, the world-wide web of technology to ensnare every free thought and moment. Boredom now almost seems a rare luxury.
Research into the opinions and susceptibilities of people relative to products and politics, ideology and diversion, or even our prejudices and preferences have created targets for propaganda and indoctrination. Our fears are analyzed in order to exploit our vulnerabilities. If you harbor a secret guilt, someone knows all about it and is preparing a means for you to pay to assuage that guilty conscience.
I sometimes feel like Truman, who was under constant observation, his every thought and utterance subject to the opinions and judgement of others. Frankly, I’d like to get away from all that.
When my first conscious impulse is to check my email or my Facebook feed, I think those things have an unhealthy grip on my life. When going out into the rain and cold to pick up the papers comes even before coffee, I must admit there’s a misplaced priority. I can remember when it wasn’t so, when a prayer of thanks for a good night’s sleep was my first thought. I wish it were so now.
Why isn’t it? Well, honestly, it only just occurred to me to make it so again. I turned off my computer and my phone. Now I’m free from those distractions, free to read or write, free to think and pray, free to look out the window and see all the beauty that surrounds me.
Someone posted a political meme on Facebook, meant to emphasize the urgency of a particular perspective. Someone else texted me with a request for support of a “critical” need. Another day, another demand.
I’m reminded of a demanding day in Galilee when Jesus had been teaching his disciples about faith, speaking in parables to those who followed him. I can imagine that they were all tired after a long day. Out on the lake together the wind rose and became a fearsome storm. Jesus slept through it until one of the disciples woke him with a plea for his divine attention. Had they come to recognize him as Son of God already? They must have.
Are you under siege? Is your life a storm of stress and demanding concerns? Jesus is right there with you. He does care if you’re perishing. He doesn’t want you to perish. Turn to him in your turmoil, and listen.
“Peace! Be still!” Mark 4:39
When things are bad I pray more. I tend to unleash my faith and let it fill me with confident assurance. I believe this is an impulse of the Holy Spirit, and I want to yield to it more, not only in the storms of life, but everyday.
That is something to be thankful for.