No more walkie talkies

walkie talkies

Long ago, before there were cell phones 🙂 . . there were walkie talkies.  Since this story is from my childhood, there will be walkie talkies in the story . . and not cell phones.

I was about eight or nine when my mom gave me the choice for I guess my birthday, between a new cartoon VHS (which also dates me) or a pair of walkie talkie.  It was a tough decision but, in the end, I chose the walkie talkies.

And not just any walkie talkies.

I got Fisher Price walkie talkies.

They were rectangles and as heavy as early 90’s gadgets were.  They were a cool red with blue antenna and yellow “talk” buttons.  Best of all, they had a sticker of the morse code alphabet and a special little button that beeped in morsecodical.

All of my friends wanted to get on the walkie talkies.  The most fun part was to walk as far away as you could without losing range and whispering.  It didn’t matter what was said over the walkie talkies, as long as it was top secret and classified.  We all took turns as secret agents, bubbling over with nonsense confidentiality as we tested the walkie talkies to see how far away we could be.

There’s an inner human longing to be let in on a secret, and to tell one.  We all want to be part of something intimate, something just for us.  I think that’s a big pull for gossip, even though gossip destroys relationships rather than bonding them.  We want to be a part of something close, something special.

Where did this longing for close communication come from?

From our longing to talk with God.

We deeply crave the closeness with God that Adam had.  When he walked in the Garden with God, he could talk to him about anything he wanted.  Oh, how we long to talk to God about what’s on our hearts!  We long to hear from Him, audibly, the way Adam did.  We long to know what He thinks of us and, for those who follow Christ, we long to tell Him how much we love Him and see His reaction.

Right now, we don’t have that walk with God.  Even Christians who have the closest fellowship with God would tell you of their longing to share more of God’s secrets.  We are in a world right now with a chasm of sin separating us from God.  This chasm is like a no-zone of communication.  No talk, either direction, gets through.

But Christ is the bridge for our chasm.  And when we give our lives to Him, we are on the bridge crossing the chasm, and we begin our communication with God.

While we’re on that bridge, in a certain way, our relationship with God is like talking on a walkie-talkie.  Sometimes, our sin puts us so out of range that we can’t hear Him.  Sometimes, the distractions we allow into our lives create so much static that we drown out His voice.  And sometimes, we have moments where we deeply experience the secret love of God in our hearts.

For the Christ-follower, our final step on the bridge toward God is death.

From that point on, there’s no more need for walkie talkies.  We’ll be in the Presence of God Himself, and He can whisper His secrets to us all day long–forever.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8, NLT)

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The Talking God

Every one of us lost God’s phone number when we sinned in Adam.

And without God’s number, we have no way of getting ahold of Him.

Well, the problem gets even worse than that.  Since the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, we have chosen to live without God and go our own way.   It wasn’t just that we lost His number.  In our rebellion, we tore down the cell phone tower, too.

We unfixably broke our contact with God.  We can’t build righteousness out of sinfulness to create a new connection.  We are hopelessly stuck in the middle of our sin with no way to call for rescue.

Since God is the only One who can give the gift of communication to Him, we have no way to get communication back.  We can’t even talk to Him, since we destroyed the communication made possible by the natural state of holiness  God created us in.

Holiness was the way God made Adam and Eve, so talking to God was purely natural.  But now, communication is impossible–if we have to be the ones to dial up.  Now, talking to God must be supernatural, or it will never take place.

But why would God want to talk to us again?  Why not just leave the broken phone line in place?  After all, God would never have to see our sin again, listen to our whining, or see the selfishness and cruelty of humanity if He just left us disconnected.

But God is the Great Operator.

Ever since Adam fell, God has been talking to us.

He talked to Adam and Eve.  He talked to Cain.  He talked to Enoch and Noah.  He talked to Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and Gideon.  He talked to Samuel, David, Nathan, and Solomon.  He talked to Daniel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  And all the while He was talking through them to the world.

All this talking was getting the world ready for the greatest communication of all.  Not a long distance connection, but a meeting face to face.

God came to see us, and the world didn’t even know it.  He proved Himself to be God, and, for the most part, only “unimportant people” faithfully believed in Him.  The world asked Him for credentials, and He gave them God the Father, but it wasn’t enough for them.  They asked Him for healing, and He gave it freely, but what they really wanted was theatrics, wealth, and power.  His sermons on love, generosity, and humility didn’t go over any better then than they would now.

But still, God talked.  He talked until the day the world killed Him for His talking.

Then there were three days of silence.

Three days of total silence from Heaven.

Now it wasn’t just that we had lost our cell phone, or God’s number, or that we’d cut the connection line.  It was that the Operator was gone.  And there was no one to talk to on the other end.  It was all over.

Or that was what we thought.

But we were wrong.

Out of the blue, the talking started again.

Jesus came back.

In one act, He had reconnected the phone lines, engineered new cell phones for us, and purchased an unlimited access plan from humanity to God.

Unbelievable.

The True God is the Talking God.

And that is how I know Him.

For through [Jesus] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18, ESV)

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Man on Cell Phone Photograph by Alon, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/photoloni/

Cell Phone Tower Photograph by Richard Smith, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/smith/

Photographs are under Creative Commons License.

On lost cell phones and talking to God

I would guess I lose my cell phone about once a week (this may be a bit conservative).  I’ve had a cell phone since I was 17 years old, around the time they caught on for ordinary people where I live, even college students like I was (that was about 2001). So I’ve had a phone for about 11 years.

With 52 weeks in a year, and 11 years of cell phones, and me losing my phone an average of once a week, I would estimate I have lost my phone about 572 times.  There have been times I’ve found my phone that day (or, more likely, someone else has found my phone), and times I haven’t found my phone for days (until, most likely, someone else finds my phone).  I’ll suppose I lose my phone an average of a half-day each time.

If that’s true, I have been without a phone for about 286 days in the last 11 years (maybe more like 572 days).  That’s a lot of days to be without a phone.  In that time, I have used friends’ phones, strangers’ phones, and yes, at times, been totally without a phone.

There are time I need my phone.  Although there were about 4,015 days (not counting leap years) in the last 11 years, and although I only was without a phone for somewhere around 286-572 of them, and although that is only 7-14% of the time, some 80% of when somebody really needs to reach me, I don’t have my phone.

The explanation for that is that, even when I know where my phone is, I often don’t have it with me.  That’s probably 3-4 of the 7 days in a week.  And then, 1-2 more days a week, my phone isn’t charged.

Looking at this with “critical statistical analysis”, 0-1 days a week, my phone is in working order.  Huh.  I didn’t realize it was that low, but math does not lie, unless it’s done by somebody who is making up random numbers to sound statistically important, of course.

I’m really happy that God never loses His cell phone.  The Bible tells us that He is always available to talk.  He never silences His phone, ignores text messages, or blocks the calls of anyone who knows His number.  We can literally talk directly to God–no secretary to go through, no forms to fill out.

This doesn’t mean we dial up God’s Kingdom in our wretched state of depravity and expect to have a chat with Almighty God.

We don’t know His number.

It’s like every one of us lost God’s phone number when we sinned.  Without His number, we have no way of getting ahold of Him.

We have to go to one Person of God first: Jesus.  Why?  Jesus is the one who paid for God’s line to be open back to us.

Well, the problem gets even worse than that.  Since the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, we have chosen to live without God and go our own way.   It wasn’t just that we lost His number.  We lost our phone line.

Like a spoiled teenager tearing apart a phone so (s)he won’t have to take any more calls from mom or dad, we unfixably broke our contact with God.  And like that same teenager who then discovers himself/herself stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to call mom or dad back to beg for help, we are hopelessly stuck in the middle of our sin!

Since God is the only One who can give the gift of communication to Himself, we have no way to get communication back to Him, since we can’t even talk to Him, since we destroyed the communication we had made possibly by holiness.  Holiness was the natural way God made Adam and Eve in Eden, so talking to God was purely natural.  But now, communication is impossible–if we have to be the ones who instigate it.

Jesus is the only one who knows God number.  And since Jesus is one Person of the Trinity, calling Him up is talking to God!

We have to go to this Person of the Triune (three Persons) Almighty God first.  We can talk to Almighty God through this Man: Jesus Christ.

Ultramiraculouspectacularly, Jesus gives each and every one of us a new cell phone (that’s grace available to all) and His number (that’s access) with the promise to restore the broken connection (that’s payment by His suffering on the cross) and listen to our prayer for help and forgiveness (that’s everlasting mercy).

But how do we know Jesus’ number?  It’s written right in John 3:16, plain as day.

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.

The phone number is belief in Jesus as God’s one and only Gift for salvation.

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

“This is the new covenant I will make

with my people on that day, says the Lord:

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he says,

“I will never again remember

their sins and lawless deeds.”

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:11-22, NLT)

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Photograph by Tripp, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/trippchicago/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.