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During a trip through Arizona in 1903, Teddy Roosevelt stopped off at the Grand Canyon. As he addressed the crowd, his voice boomed: “In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.” He continued, reflecting on the need to preserve this natural wonder for generations to come.
But why? What’s so important about the Grand Canyon? I think the answer can be summed up in a single word: “stillness.”
Let me explain.
Whether we like it or not, we live in the “digital age.” People walk around listening to iPods; conversations have been replaced with Facebook status updates; and there’s always some new show on Netflix that we “need” to watch. Now don’t get me wrong – I love listening to music, getting text messages from friends and streaming Downton Abbey with my wife and daughter. But at the same time, that is a lot of man-made noise. And sometimes we can get lost in it all.
In Psalm 46:10, God speaks through the Psalmist, telling us to: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalms 46:10).
Isn’t that great? We’re actually commanded to slow down, unplug for a moment and “know” that he is God. So often in this day and age we’re bombarded with so much noise, movement and pressure that we forget to take a moment and slow down and be still in the presence of God.
If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know what stillness and silence can feel like. I think in his own way, this was one of the aspects that Teddy Roosevelt was trying to protect – a refuge away from all the hustle and bustle and pressure of our “modern” lives.
This week, I encourage you to take a moment, close your eyes and “still your soul” before God. Turn down the “noise” and listen for his voice.