I have this really nifty set of noise cancelling headphones that I wear with my IPOD when I exercise or when I am on an airplane. They are the big, over the ear kind. While that makes them a little more of a pain to lug around, I really do not like the little ones that fit inside the ear. In any event, if you have never used headphones like this, they are pretty neat. I don't pretend to be able to explain how they really work, but my understanding from looking at them is that they have an external microphone/sensor that picks up outside noise. Then, assuming that you really want to hear what is coming through the headphones, rather than the outside noise, they electronically kill or mask that sound. It is not 100%, but they do a pretty amazing job of blocking out all of that extra noise and making it easier to hear your music and hear it more clearly.
In church this weekend, Pastor Bob made some reference to blocking out all the noise of the world and my headphones came immediately to mind. Well, my headphones and a song that I heard on the radio last week called "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. I've heard the song a bunch of times before, but for some reason last week I really listened to it and thought about it.
To really give you a good sense of the song would require me to reprint all of the lyrics here and I don't want to take up that much time or space. The short version (and I recommend that you Google "Voice of Truth lyrics" and read all of the lyrics or better yet, listen to the song) is that the song talks about wanting to have the kind of faith that it takes to step out of the boat onto the waves or to stand in front of a giant with only a sling and a stone. But the waves and the giant call out and laugh, reminding us of the times that we have tried and failed and saying "you'll never win."
"But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
the Voice of Truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of Truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth"
I love that last phrase - "Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth." The Voice that tells me not to be afraid. The Voice that tells me it is for His glory and I therefore cannot fail. Sometimes I can find it maddeningly hard to do that. I get caught up in all the other voices, all the distractions. I hear the giant telling me that I will fail and reminding me of past failures. I can't block out all the noise of the world.
I need my noise cancelling headphones to help me. I've looked, but I have not yet found a set of actual headphones to do this. I have found that my wife, my good friends and my church can do a pretty good job of it at times. But, the best set of noise cancelling headphones that I have found for these purposes so far is my Bible and time spent in quiet prayer. I've shared here before that I often need God to hit me over the head with a message, and sometimes I struggle to figure out if I am really hearing the Voice of Truth or if I am hearing the world, or what I want to hear. But even in those times, I have discovered that my only hope of finding the answer to those questions is taking time to stop and really open myself in prayer to listen.