I studied communications in college, and we had to learn so many theories and models. I never thought I would actually use them, but today, I am!
In the process of communication, there is a communicator (messenger), the channel of communication, and a receiver. There are a few things in between, but those are the main three parts of this model. While the message is traveling from the messenger to the audience, something called noise can happen. Noise is any interference or disturbance that could distort or prevent the message from getting to the audience in a clear way. The noise can be external, like music, cell phones ringing, a tornado, etc. Or the noise can be internal, like hunger, a headache, or maybe some kind of problem or situation you are dealing with. Basically, noise is not just a sound. Of course there are ways to fix this noise problem. The room could be the problem. If too much outside noise is getting in, move to a more reinforced room. If the listener is not paying attention, then…pay attention. That was easy.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because I have been struggling to communicate with God (surprise, right?). I couldn’t really figure out why God wasn’t appearing at my kitchen table when I open my Bible, or why he doesn’t pop up in my passenger seat while I’m driving to work and trying to pray.
I think my life has been so loud lately that I couldn’t possibly hear anything that God is trying to say. He is there, speaking, and acting, but I am distracted. Something is interfering with His message. It is being distorted, shortened, and completely blocked out before it gets to me.
In Matthew, Jesus talks about building your house on different foundations.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand…and it fell, and great was the fall of it. [7:24-25]
I’m pretty sure He’s not just using his professional knowledge of carpentry to give these people advice on where to build their next home. He’s telling them where to find the foundation for their lives. He’s not even telling them that they need to have a nice house to live in. They just need to build it on the right foundation.
I can work so hard to construct a soundproof home, but if I build it on sand, it will crumble to the ground.
Think about how stupid it sounds to build your house on sand. I read that and thought, “seriously? Who would ever do something that stupid? Why is this even a necessary topic?” But then I started to think about what my foundation looks like. How my house is not very sturdy, and I’m kind of scared it’s going to fall. I try to distract myself from my crappy sandcastle with anything I can find. I don’t want to think about my pitiful house, but it becomes impossible. I can hear the walls cracking, I can feel the floor moving, and I am really starting to panic. I can feel the wind slapping and moving the sand around, causing my house to sway back and forth. The rain is making the sand wet, and it’s moving even more. It’s so loud, and that’s all I can think about. It’s deafening. I can’t hear anything over the wind and rain and destruction. This isn’t good.
In reality, I need to hear that. I need to look down and see the cracks forming in the floor, because if I don’t, I’m going to fall, hard. I keep trying to build sturdier walls and reinforce the ceiling, but the cracks in the floor are still growing. I can’t reinforce the foundation. Why the heck did I build my house on sand? Whose idea was this?
My house is going to collapse. That is promised when I choose to build on something as weak as sand. My only choice is to get out. To get out as quick as possible. I don’t need to bother bringing anything with me, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” I run out my front door just as the floor completely opens up and my house crumbles.
My heart hurts for a moment. All of that hard work, all of my effort, it just fell apart in a matter of seconds. I put so much into building that perfect house. But why did I build it on such a crappy foundation? It was destined to fail from the beginning.
But now is my chance to rebuild. I can rebuild on the rock. I can rebuild on something that will never crumble, despite rain storms and heavy wind. The noise will happen, but the house will not fall. Why didn’t I think of this before?
I will never be able to completely shut out noise. I don’t think that is expected of me. God is expecting me to build on a strong foundation, so that when noise happens, my house doesn’t fall. He is expecting me to build somewhere strong, so that I won’t have to worry about the noise actually destroying it. It won’t be necessary. With a strong foundation, I will still be able to hear His message.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.