QUIETNESS BEFORE GOD by Francis Schaeffer and Ray Ortlund

“People today are afraid to be alone. This fear is a dominant mark of our society. Many now ceaselessly sit in the cinema or read novels about other people’s lives or watch dramas. Why? Simply to avoid having to face their own existence. . . .

No one seems to want (and no one can find) a place of quiet — because, when you are quiet, you have to face reality. But many in the present generation dare not do this because on their own basis reality leads them to meaninglessness; so they fill their lives with entertainment, even if it is only noise. . . .

The Christian is supposed to be very opposite: There is a place for proper entertainment, but we are not to be caught up in ceaseless motion which prevents us from ever being quiet. Rather we are to put everything second so we can be alive to the voice of God and allow it to speak to us and confront us.”

Francis Schaeffer, “Walking through the mud,” in No Little People (Downers Grove, 1974), pages 86-87.

I am now phasing out my iPhone and phasing in a simple flip phone for calls and texts only. The brilliance of the iPhone is its many functions and uses. The snare of the iPhone is its many functions and uses.

At first, my smartphone seemed like an advance. Technically, it was, and impressively so. I have held in my hand communications technology superior to what put men on the moon in 1969. But those very advances have imported into my life, day and night, an unprecedented level of distraction and demand. My smartphone has proven, over time, to increase the frantic pace of my activity and to decrease my quietness of heart before God. So I have concluded that, for me, it is injurious to my soul. I’m done. I’m going back to simplicity, back to strict necessity.

In the short time I have left in this life, I want maximum divine blessing, which requires calmness of heart, mental clarity, capacity for undisturbed concentration, so that I can walk in the presence of the risen Jesus rather than crawl through every day buffeted by our screamingly intrusive world. In other words, “I have calmed and quieted my soul” (Psalm 131:2).

Already, I feel freer.

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Ray Ortlund blogs at CHRIST IS DEEPER STILL at THE GOSPEL COALITION.

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