“When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and stood at the entrance of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:13
Sometimes I wonder how I would even be able to do my job without modern technology. It bears wonderful fruits such as being able to respond to calls, emails and texts much more efficiently than before the days of mobile devices. The downside for me is that it contributes enormously to the busyness of my life. I find people expect responses within a few hours, if not immediately. And although it means I can achieve so much more in a lot less time I am not sure this is really good for any of us? With the event of ever increasingly sophisticated technology multitasking becomes a feature of everyday life before we even realise it. Sometimes I find myself being pulled in all directions, most often according to other people’s agendas!
The biggest casualty of such a lifestyle is the ability to become inwardly still, to remain centered, might be another way of putting it. So active have our minds become in handling the challenges of modern life with all its noise, diversions and distractions vying for our attention that we become tossed about by the prevailing external conditions. Think of how we can now have news stories from anywhere in the world beamed into our living rooms so that we could, if we chose to, have a 24 hour media commentary. Such commentary can range from reasonable coverage to totally biased and inflated opinion and even fake news. In a nutshell, modern technology has enabled an insidious bombardment on our very being so that external (and potentially harmful) influences have a greater control over us than we realise. How on earth are we to discern God’s voice in all of this?
I am reminded of Elijah on mount Horeb pulled about so many forces in his life at that moment, trying desperately to listen for and to God’s voice but the noise and drama of the earthquake, wind and fire of his external world meant that he couldn’t, there was too much vying for his attention too. But then, turning his attention inwards (represented by the cave), he finds that precious place where God indwells the soul and finally he regains his focus, he becomes present to God’s presence and in the silence he is able to hear the whisper of God’s voice.
I am so thankful for the salutary message in this passage from the first book of Kings. It continues to change my whole approach to the pressures of modern life and helps to remind me where that cherished still small voice might be discerned. I now take a minimal approach to modern technology, I consciously choose to centre myself in the cave rather than being whipped about by all the external drama. Here, in the centre of my being, do I find God’s voice and discern its gently whispered wisdom. Only this voice will lead me in right paths and restore my soul!