Cell phones have come a long way. The first phone call ever made from a handheld mobile phone happened on April 3, 1973. Dr. Joel S Engel, a Motorola executive, made that call using a phone that was 23 cm long, 13 deep, and weighed 1.1 kg. For those who are like me, that's 9+ inches long, 5+ inches deep, and about 2 ½ lbs, a little bigger and heavier than two one pound boxes of brown sugar fastened together. But even as far as they have come, there are still issues.
I tried to call Keith from the doctor’s office the other day. I had just stepped out of the elevator and was standing in an enclosed “breezeway” between the bank of elevators and the eye clinic, lined with windows and a view of the city from four floors up. The little screen on the phone showed “Calling work,” then suddenly switched back to the home screen. I never did hear it ring on the other end. I tried twice more but both times the phone stayed silent.
I knew I had called from that site before, so I stepped a few paces to the left and tried again. This time I got a rough ring on the other end and Keith picked up. We still had a difficult conversation between the phone connection losing every other word of his and him being so deaf that even an amplifier is not an instant cure, but at least we communicated the necessities—I had managed to make another trip into town without running over anyone or anyone running into me.
Sometimes we have difficulty making connections with God, and usually that is our fault—we are standing in the wrong place.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isa 59:2
If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear, Psa 66:18.
And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: For they are a very perverse generation, Children in whom is no faithfulness, Deut 32:20.
We overstate the matter, and miss the point entirely, when we say God only hears Christians. He heard Cornelius’s prayer before he was converted, Acts 10:4. God answered that “prayer of a sinner,” not with the instant forgiveness promised by televangelists today, but by sending Peter to preach the gospel, Acts 11:14, “words whereby you shall be saved.”
The passages listed above were all said of people who claimed to be children of God, “children in whom there is no faithfulness,” yet people we would have called “believers” today. Faithfulness involves dependent trust. When God’s people in the Old Testament began relying on the gods of their pagan neighbors, participating in their worship, while at the same time claiming to worship him, he had them carried into captivity as a punishment.
What are you relying on besides God? Whatever it is, it stands between you and the connection you so badly need to help you handle life’s difficulties. If you pray and pray and pray, yet still feel deserted by God, look around. Are you standing behind a pillar of self-reliance? Do you count your financial preparations as the ultimate security? Do you look at the life you have led thus far and find yourself so completely satisfied with your efforts that you think you have salvation “in the bag?” Security in the promises of God is one thing—arrogance and self-righteousness is quite another. When we trust in anything besides God, we have become the same faithless children as those ancient Jews.
God never tells us that life will be easy. He never says that nothing bad will happen to us as long as we are faithful. What he does tell us, is that as long as we rely on him alone, he will not forsake us. He will give us the help we need to get through the tough times, and ultimately to the eternal salvation that will make this life look like a mere blink of the eye.
Are you having a difficult time making a connection with God these days? Take a step or two in the right direction, and suddenly the signal will become loud and clear.
And Asa cried unto Jehovah his God, and said, Jehovah, there is none besides you to help, between the mighty and him who has no strength: help us, O Jehovah our God; for we rely on you…Oh Jehovah you are our God, 2 Chron 14:11.