About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Escaping The Noise Of Life  


It's deep within in the heart of the almost 3,000 square mile Algonquin Provincial Park, in northern Ontario.  Once turning north off the main highway through the park, it's a ten minute drive to the end of the road.  You then proceed to hike forty minutes to the quietest and most serene space imaginable.  It's Mizzy Lake, one of the park's 1500 plus lakes, where the irritating racket of man-made noise is seldom heard.  It's the soothing sound of silence, sprinkled with the singing of a songbird, the breeze brushing the branches, the creaking of a cricket, and the buzzing of a bumblebee.  As the sun sparkles its light on the water, it's a taste of tranquility, far removed from the screeching sounds of the city.  


I relax on the comfort of our backyard deck with my favourite brew in hand.  I'm immersed in the midst of our flower-filled garden, as our blue jay friends swoop down on the deck to pick up their peanuts.  They quickly glance my way as if to say "thank you."  It's as peaceful as peaceful can be in the city, but then it happens.  I'm suddenly shaken by the nasty noise of a high-powered lawnmower.  If that isn't noisy enough, I'm blasted by the over-produced bass and drums of someone's favourite rock album.  It couldn't get worse, but of course, it does.  It's a testosterone-induced teenager, a race car driver want-to-be, who is consumed by the false feeling of power generated by his modified muffler.


Noise is more than an ear-piercing irritant.  It's also the distracting variety of voices vying for our attention, our allegiance, our wallets, and our lives.  It's the countless commercials and commentaries that corrupt cable television news.  It's the deafening debates between the political right and the political left.  It's the cultural clashes among a conflicted humanity.  It's the current confusing controversy that splits a Biblically illiterate church.  When will it ever end?  More appropriately, when will we dial it down?  I'm reminded of the lyrics of Bruce Cockburn's song entitled "Laughter," that correctly conclude: "Tried to build the New Jerusalem and ended up with New York ."  In the centre of the craziness, our suffering souls suffocate from the commotion.  Maybe I've taken it a bit out of context, but Psalm 46:10 speaks volumes when it reads: "Be still, and know that I am God."


One thing is certain.  The day will come when all of the ear-piercing and nasty cultural noise of life is silenced for good.  As Revelation 8:1 states, a sacred silence will saturate a stunned universe as the all-important seventh seal is opened.  The silence is then broken by the thunderous sound of divine judgment.  The prediction of Isaiah 29:6 is repeated in Revelation 16:18, that reads:


"Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake."


You may never have the opportunity to sit on the shore of Mizzy Lake and experience its sounds of serenity.  You do, however have the opportunity to sit alone in the serene presence of Jesus, where your suffocating soul can breathe again.  Of course, that takes some intentionality on your part to dial down the noise, just as it takes some intentionality to find your way to Mizzy Lake.  You can escape the noise of life.  It's your choice.

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