Thursday, June 13, 2013

Technological Umbilical Cord?

Remember the days before everyone had cell phones? No, dinosaurs didn’t roam the earth then, although it almost seems that way.

Today it’s like everyone’s connected by a technological umbilical cord, never farther than a ringtone from home, work, loved ones and friends. I was reminded of this recently when I did the unthinkable – I went to run several errands and left my cell phone at home! What a queasy, uneasy feeling. It seemed almost as if I’d forgotten to wear pants. Were people staring at me?

How did we ever survive B.C. (Before Cells)?
After realizing my oversight, I dutifully finished my remaining stops. Surprisingly I somehow survived my trip to Publix without even needing to make – or take – a call. When I got home and found my cell phone lying right where I’d left it, I discovered no one had called me in the interim. Talk about not being needed!

Isn’t it amazing how dependent we’ve become on our little handheld communications devices? Years ago an ice storm hit Chattanooga. I left work just before 4 p.m. and my 10-mile drive home, which normally took 20 minutes, lasted nearly three hours. That was in “the olden days” before even briefcase-sized cellular phones had been introduced. So I couldn’t call home to say I was okay.

Under the same circumstances today I’d just use my cell phone to call or send a text (when the car was sitting still, of course) to keep my wife updated. Someday one of my grandchildren will ask me, “Pop, what was it like in the 20th century B.C. (Before Cells)?”

And how about answering machines? For those of us still having landlines at home, we easily retrieve messages from people that called in our absence. We can check “missed calls” to see if someone “dialed” us (another antiquated term) and didn't leave a voice mail.

Before answering machines and phone messages, who knows how many calls we missed, totally unaware? (If a phone rings in an empty house, does it make a sound?) In those days, though, we were philosophical: “If it’s important, they’ll call back.”

This got me thinking about, of all things, prayer. The first Bible verse I ever learned was, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In the years since I’ve come to understand that means we can – and should – be ready to pray at all times, for any reason.

Thanks to communications media, today we can readily be contacted by phone or text or email – most of the time. Unless we leave our technology devices at home. Or fall into one of the dreaded “dead zones” where neither call nor text nor email can penetrate. Then we become hopelessly incommunicado until we’re within range of the next cell tower.

With God, we’re never “out of range.” There are no dead zones. He’s not restricted to office hours, doesn’t take holidays off, and never charges us for “exceeding our minutes.”

At any moment, without needing to close our eyes or assume a particular posture, we can call out to God. We don’t need to hunt for the nearest sanctuary or consult with a religious professional. Whether it’s in times of crisis (“God, I need help. I mean, right now!”), or in moments of euphoria (“Lord, what a wonderful day You’ve given us”), He’s always available.

We don’t even need to express audibly what’s on our minds. God is able to “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). And we can pray about, well, whatever. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

The bottom line, even if you forget your cell phone, even if you’re in a meeting, driving your car, or the middle of a heated argument, God’s prepared to listen. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).


Rebecca B said...

The irony of being "always connected" and posting this at 3AM was not lost on me.

Thank you for once again inspiring my day. I think when I get home from work today I'm going to turn the cell off and enjoy working my garden and praising God in his great outdoors!

Bob Tamasy said...

Rebecca, thanks!
I think our problem these days is we are too connected. Hope your time of setting your cell phone aside and enjoying God's great outdoors was fun - and therapeutic!