Sunday, August 5, 2012
The Party Line
Thinking about all these conversations occurring around the world, all at the exact same time, conjured up the mental image of the old party lines. Users had to take turns, or some would never have the opportunity to use the service, and the opportunity - temptation - to listen in on other's conversations was always there. All one had to do was pick up the phone.
The Prayer Party Line has only one recipient. It is amazing to think about the zillions of conversations, pleadings, and thank yous going on all at once. That is multi-tasking to the infinite power (pun intended), and for me it is hard to imagine such power. I don't doubt it. I just don't fully understand it.
Scientist have proven we can't multi-task efficiently. Our brains are only wired to focus on one, maybe two things at a time. Too much stimuli is overwhelming so our brains efficiently filter out what isn't absolutely necessary, particularly to our survival. Studies actually included physically testing.
An executive who claimed he could out multi-task anyone, was placed in a car on an obstacle course and asked to talk on his cell phone while negotiating the course. He managed to keep up his conversation, but his driving suffered immensely. (We commuters could have told them the results of that test before they ever started.) Although multi-tasking may not be feasible, rapidly switching from one task to another is.As long our attention is focused on one or two things at at the same time.
And so the Prayer Party Line is an amazing feat. Not only does God hold zillions of conversations, perform miracles, He keeps the universe moving, and responds to each and every one of us intimately and personally - all simultaneously. Wow. It is mind boggling. And let's not even mention the Three in One. Can't wrap my mind around all of that, but that's okay. I don't need to in order to believe in His existence, and understanding isn't essential to having faith. In fact, faith is belief in things unseen.
That brings me to this week. When I read this passage from Jeremiah I felt the prophet's words echoing in my heart.
Why is my sorrow become perpetual, and my wound desperate so as to refuse to be healed? It is become to me as the falsehood of deceitful waters that cannot be trusted. Chapter 15: 18.
God answered Jeremiah's lament with a covenant to protect, to save and to deliver him while he walked upon this earth in the service of God's will.
After a moment's contemplation of the scripture, I paged on to the Psalms, then the Gospels. Desiring to re-read the covenant God made with Jeremiah, I turned back. My bible fell open to Jeremiah 42:10- 12.
If you will be quiet and remain in this land, I will build you up, and not pull you down: I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for now I am appeased for the evil that I have done to you. Fear not because of the King of Babylon [insert any fear], of whom you are greatly afraid: fear him not, said the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. And I will show mercies to you and will take pity on you, and will cause you to dwell in your own land.
This promise/covenant was given to me once before during other trying times. At a moment when it appeared we would lose everything. Now, in other trying times, God is renewing this covenant with me, turning my current sorrows into hope.
So, I join the Party Line, praying and rejoicing, chatting and conversing with a God mighty enough to do the impossible, loving enough to talk to each one of us personally and intimately - and not just talk, but with love, compassionate and all encompassing. And the best part? The price and availability. There is always a line open, and all it costs is faith.