“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
~ Psalm 27:13 NASB ~
There had been a constant noise in my office for the past few months. It could be heard in the other rooms along the same corridor but it was the most apparent in my room. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it and I became more disturbed by it by the day. I reported the noise to the Facilities Department.
The first staff who came to assess the situation tried to dismiss the noise as soft and non-hazardous. But he said his team would monitor it.
Due to the nature of my work, my office area has to be quiet, and any extraneous noise then becomes more apparent than in most other offices.
After a week, the noise persisted. By then, my colleagues commented that I was speaking louder than usual. I realised that after I left my office I was still in a state of temporary hearing loss, albeit a mild one.
I wrote an email to the Facilities Department and appealed to them again to investigate and to resolve the problem. Over the next few weeks, many Facilities staff showed up at my office and asked the same questions and did the same checks. Unfortunately, nothing came out of the multiple visits and repeated checks.
However, I knew God was teaching me something through this soft but irritable noise.
Each day I prayed and asked Him to resolve the situation and to protect my physical hearing, my emotions and my state of mind. It was a struggle at first, but as I committed the little annoyance to Him daily, I focused less on it.
Instead, I learnt to gaze at the big picture of Jesus who loves me and cares about even this little annoyance in my life. I had to make a deliberate choice not to let the little annoyance distract me from His purpose, which at work meant doing my best to serve my patients.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
~ Luke 10:41-42 NIV ~
I want to be like Mary, who chose His presence over distractions that would take my eyes away from Him. As I committed the little annoyance to Him completely, I found that it couldn’t steal me of my peace and joy anymore. The noise didn’t go away but I was strengthened from inside out to overcome it.
Interestingly, today, a day after I had completely surrendered the little annoyance to Him, a team of Facilities staff visited my office again.
They had been troubleshooting with their gut feeling, and turning off chilled water pipes, air conditioning ducts etc, basically the big stuff. Today, they brought with them a blueprint of the building and looked at the big picture for the first time. They marked crosses on the points they eliminated as possible noise sources. All morning, they explored several possible sources but all in vain.
Having heard the noise for an average of 6 hours every work day for the past few months, I would describe it as something metallic going round in an air stream movement. It also sounded like a vibration that came through the wall.
It was in the late afternoon that upon consulting their blueprint, the Facilities team realised that they hadn’t investigated the level below my office. Whilst they were gone, the noise stopped. There was almost a split second of silence before I could hear the clock ticking in my room. They found the source of the noise!
When the team returned to my room, they didn’t look hopeful as they had been disappointed countless times. So they were pleasantly surprised when I greeted them with much joy and congratulated them for stopping the noise.
As it turned out, there was an industrial fan mounted on the wall directly below my office and one of its loose ball bearings caused the fan to vibrate uncontrollably. And that in turn sent reverberation up the wall to my office. The team was baffled that the noise source was a little ball bearing in a fan and not some big machinery.
There, a seemingly harmless little ball bearing can cause reverberation in magnitude greater than its size in another place. If I don’t keep little annoyances in my life in check by going to Him repeatedly each day, they could escalate into bigger and deeper issues in my heart.
I thank God that I don’t have to be despaired when I face life’s little annoyances. I believe He is good all the time and He will come through for me regardless. I will not allow the enemy to steal, kill or destroy His love, peace, joy and hope.
I also thank God for teaching me another lesson on listening to His voice.
I was surprised by how close my description of the noise matched that of the source. I suppose having heard it all day for months, I developed a keenness to it. In the same way, keenness in listening to Him has to be developed day after day, so I may hear and recognize His voice immediately.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
~ John 10:3-4 NIV ~