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  • Laura MacNeil

Background Noise

The neighborhood is winding down at the end of the day. A father and son are leading their herd of goats home after a long day of grazing on the grassy parts of the sidewalk. The lotto stand is tallying up the last numbers before it closes for the night. I find myself walking to sit on a little ledge to watch the sun go down as my thoughts are working overtime thinking about the frustrations of the day. It’s quiet, minus the sound of the waves, passing Moto taxis and the occasional yell of a neighbor. That’s about as quiet as it gets here in Haiti. From sun up until sun down, it is a continual soundtrack of dogs barking, roosters crowing, trucks honking or upbeat konpa music from a nearby radio.

There will always be noise in our lives, both literally and figuratively. In the busyness of each day, it’s easy to feel lost in the questions and needs and opinions of everyone else. Some days are so full of disruptions or unanswered questions that my mind starts to spin. On those days I find myself looking for those moments of quiet more often—it’s in those moments of stillness that I can wrangle my thoughts. Learning how to tune out the noise and focus on the voice that really matters—


When He becomes my point of reference for everything else that is going on in life, that which is truly important becomes clearer, the rest fades into the background. The more I can center myself on His voice above the noise, the more I am at peace. The times in my life that I have heard God’s voice so clearly usually weren’t peaceful at all. They’ve been time of uncertainty or insecurity, they’ve been times of forging ahead into the unknown with only a promise of the Lord to lean on and the hope that He will work the rest of it out on my behalf. The more I can center myself on his voice above the noise, the more I am at peace.

Here is what I have been learning lately: the more I sit alone with Jesus, the clearer His voice becomes when I am in the middle of everything else. We can center our time and energy around a lot of things that are well meaning—helping others, being an advocate for justice, being the best wife or father or friend we can be—but until we are centering ourselves on the voice of God above all else, we won’t have the peace we are looking for.

Lord, may we be able to hear your voice above all the other noise in our lives.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." John 15:4

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