If It’s Too Quiet to Sleep, Maybe We Have a Problem

I am surprised at how many people tell me that they cannot fall asleep without the television or radio on in the background. This is surely a sign of being overstimulated. Spiritually, it creates a condition wherein we can barely hear the still, small voice of God. In Kings, we read,

Elijah heard, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Samuel also heard the whisper of God in the night:

For the third time, the LORD called to Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you have called me.” Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy. “Go and lie down,” he said to Samuel, “and if He calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:8-10).

The voice of the Lord can be lost in clamorous times. Many of us need to re-accustom ourselves to silence. We sometimes think to abstain from meat or wine, but do we ever consider abstaining from noise? Is not unplugging from the world for a time a sacrifice that might please God and bless us at the same time?

Psalm 74 says,

Arise, O God, and defend your cause!
Remember how the senseless revile you all the day.
Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the daily, increasing uproar of your foes

Yes, Lord, from clamorous discord and distracting noise deliver us. Help us to find increasing joy in periods of holy silence. Our enemy, the devil, shouts and drones on. Lead us, O Lord, to quieter places; let us hear Your voice.

This commercial shows various people being lulled to sleep by the droning background noise from their smartphones.


Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: If It’s Too Quiet to Sleep, Maybe We Have a Problem