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Quiet Truth in a Noisy World  

If tranquility is what you seek, you'll not find it in Sweden's island neighborhood, Gamla Stan. Its medieval streets squawk with countless languages as tourists trod the cobblestone paths of what is today better known as old Stockholm.

Weary from the walk, Diana and I slipped into Cafe Schweitzer. Fur pelts adorn the seats of this curious cafe, where nearly every square inch of the walls and ceiling are covered with graffiti screaming messages in many languages. Who knew plaster and paint could be so loud? Yet the old-world charm, freshly squeezed juices, and distinctly Swedish menu intrigued us.

Munching our toasted Skagen —shrimp, eggs, dill, and lettuce on toasted rye— (you've never seen such a mound of mayonnaise), we tried to make sense of the graffiti. And that's when I saw it.

At the top of a column, camouflaged by so many other scribblings, was a blue-lettered Bible reference to Joshua 1:9. You know the verse. It's God speaking to Joshua, who is facing enormous obstacles, and God tells him:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

What a breath of fresh air in a city that today is as choked with paganism as any place I've been. Looking back on our visit to Cafe Schweitzer, two lessons seem to work their way off of the graffitied walls.

First, you and I live in a noisy age. It’s easy to miss God’s voice, just as I nearly missed that Bible reference on top of the column. Messages from a media-mad world threaten to crowd out the one voice we must hear—the Almighty’s.

Second, God's promise to Joshua is ancient—but still active. I don't know what neighborhood your path will take you through today. I don't know what obstacles or adversaries you'll face. But I do know a promise you and I can both claim:

Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.



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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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