We are living in a time where everything moves in warped speed. We go by the megabit per second. We also demand that transmissions and downloading of goods or services, and even relationships, be done in ways that are no less than effective and convenient. This is the unwritten standard today and when we don’t get it, we get angry and ready to fight whoever is in the way. We are a generation of short fuses; our pampered life has effectively transformed us as such. The customer-centered society, with its golden rule of “the customer is always right,” has psychologically conditioned us to see the world as revolving around our needs and wants.
This is what we are today -- we are a people unknowingly content in the veneer surfaces of life and yet are painfully yearning for something deeper. On Facebook, someone said that love is best expressed through a handwritten letter. We now long for what John Naisbitt calls the “high touch” human engagement, the antidote of the “high tech” nature of our current environment. While the past generations drank in the geniuses of Hemingway or Tolstoy, this generation has been living in the constant diet of blogs and vlogs catering to our sensual appetites. This life in the surface has deprived us of the needed rich minerals that would surely nourish our souls. No wonder Bird Box has that kind of appeal as it shows what has gone wrong with us.
So how do we go down deep? How do we find depth in life? The answer is as basic and as essential as the air we breathe: take time to reflect and pray.
We must fight the devil in modern life. Carl Jung said, “Hurrying is not of the devil. Hurrying is the devil.” Modern life is on a conveyor belt that rushes through every day at maximum speed. We need to counter this flow, and if this is not entirely possible, at least put some breaks to it to allow ourselves spiritual air to breathe. Someone said that we make time for the things we value. We can say no to the devil by actually making time for reflection and making the latter as our indispensable value. And we can do this in any time of the day and in any place we can.
A construction worker makes a chapel out of his Chevrolet a few minutes before his work starts. With a hot brewed coffee and a bible, he shuts off the world beyond his windshield and thinks prayerfully about his life, family, work, community, and thought about what he truly care for in life. Then he reads a passage in his bible and prays to God. He comes out of that chapel refreshed and with a right view of life. This person has shown us how it’s done. We must take time to reflect and pray. It doesn’t matter however we do this, so long as we actually do it.
Not even Jesus himself was immune to the rushing tendency of life. With his preaching and healing ministry in full bloom, Jesus from time to time succumbed to tiredness. One example was when he and his disciples were on a boat in a lake. Jesus slept soundly and a squall came and rocked the boat. Despite that, Jesus was still asleep. His disciples frantically tried to wake him up. Jesus was that tired. So how did he get through his busy day? Mark tells us how: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Jesus did not allow the demands of life take away his time with his. This is the source of his strength having taken on the form a human being. Jesus has shown us how to live every day.
The world does not fail to recognize the benefits of prayer. Health Fitness Revolution acknowledges physical and psychological benefits of prayer: better sense of self, healthy heart, increase lifespan, improves attitude, forgiveness, hope, stress relief, strong mindset, and a positive outlook in life. Crystal Park, a university professor, said, “people who pray often and are active with their faith communities might be making generally healthier decisions, such as taking fewer risks...those kinds of things have physiological effects on the body, such as calming your cardiovascular system and reducing your stress.” Hearing all these one wonders why most of us do not make this a top priority of our life.
In California, there lays a bristlecone pine tree named “Methuselah.” This name is taken from of the oldest human being in the bible who lived for 969 years. This bristlecone pine tree is over 4,700 years old which means that the tree was alive when the Stonehenge was still under construction. This tree has withstood the onslaught of time as well as the rise and fall of empires, including all the wars that went with them. While time and change rushes through, this tree lies stable and seemingly content because its roots run deep underground. This is a picture of a life given to reflection and prayer. Like this bristlecone pine tree, we can withstand the onslaughts of life as we are deeply rooted in God through reflection and prayer. Psalm 1:3 is a good reminder: “That person (who gives time for reflection and prayer) is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers.”