During my early years of my enlistment in the US Air Force, I was able to connect and form a friendship with a man and his wife. We all shared some common experiences: we were all from the same small Baptist tradition, we all attend the same small Baptist College in Springfield, and after completing technical training together, and we were assigned to the same duty station. During our time on Crete, we also lived in the same apartment building and the husband and I worked in the same unit. Over the three years of working, living, eating, and sight-seeing together, we became close friends. But then came the transition to our next assignments. They went to Fort Meade, Maryland and I ended up at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. This was 1985 which was pre-internet and pre-cellular service. Needless to say, we lost contact with each other and that continued for the next 20 plus years. But then one day I was searching on Facebook and was able to send them a friend request. We’ve reconnected through Facebook and had dinner together in San Antonio while Margaret and I were there for business. But it isn’t the same. Our friendship will probably never regain the intimacy that was lost.
Have you ever had a friendship that simply lost its connection over time? Once you were inseparable and now you have no ties that bind you together. Disconnecting from others carries with it pain and discomfort, especially when dealing with grief and loss. Even in a world where we can instantaneously connect with long, lost acquaintances and friends, there is still the shadow of disconnection that clouds them.
The Bible doesn’t say a single thing about the smartphone. In the world of the ancient writers and compilers of the scriptures, the iPhone was an inconceivable concept. But they did know plenty about human interaction and the need for deep and intimate connection. Among the elements that make up the recipe for fulfilling connection, we need the ingredients of humility, confession, and inquisitiveness. These elements will help us reconnect with God and with others.
I encourage you to take time and read each of the scriptures above as you move into reflection on the questions below. I hope that they will encourage you as you reflect on the invitation to deepen your relationship with God and with others. I also pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.
How much do you use your smartphone to communicate to others? How often do you call and have a conversation with someone verses using text messaging or Snapchat?
- For those who do not use text messaging, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, what do you use to keep connected to your family, friends, and neighbors?
- What is the best question you use to start a meaningful conversation with someone else? If you don’t have one, take a moment and craft one that you know will foster a deeper exchange with a family member, friend, or neighbor.
- When do you take time to disconnect from electronic gadgets? For what particular purpose? How often is the time used for you to connect with God? What do you need to do in order to spend more time with God?
Gracious and Holy God. I confess that I have not loved you with my whole heart. I have figured out how to fill my life with busyness to the point that I am too exhausted to spend time with you. I confess that I have not loved my family with my whole heart. I have allowed my obsession with electronics to interfere. I’ve created a busy life for myself which leaves little quality time left over for them. I confess that I have not loved my neighbor as I love myself. I’m simply too busy for my neighbor – I have more important things to do that spend time talking at the end of the driveway, on the sidewalk, let alone on the front porch. Lord, please hear my confession and create in me a new desire. Help me to be a person who strives for deeper and more meaningful connection with You and with the world. Only then will I be able to truly proclaim your love and grace that is for all. Lord, in your mercy, please hear my prayer. Amen.