I’m writing this blog on my laptop computer, which I bought about 6 years ago. before that I went through a number of computers, starting in 1984 with the little $115 Timex machine, which you could hold in your hand, plug into your TV, and play video games like “Pong”.
Technology has come a long way since then. Actually, it has come an even longer way since my childhood years in Jersey City during the 1940s and early 1950s. During those years most people in our neighborhood had telephones in their homes. But we didn’t. My mother remembered the days of the Great Depression. One of the lessons she learned was that you didn’t spend money on something you didn’t need. She explained that we didn’t need a telephone. If a long distance communication was needed (meaning beyond reasonable walking distance) you could take a bus or write a letter. If it was something urgent, we could go to my uncle’s home or his electronics store, only about three blocks away, and use his phone. I didn’t even know how to use a phone. Finally, when I was 13 years old, we finally got a phone. The only reason we did get a phone was because my father was head of the church committee which was responsible for hiring a new pastor. This meant he had to be in frequent and prompt communication with applicants. So we needed a phone. That was 1953.
For the most part, telephone service went well. I don’t think we ever had a problem with our home phone. However, just over 50 years later, I experienced what I consider to be a major phone problem. This happened in 2006, when we were moving into a new home, with a new phone number. I contacted the phone company in advance and they assured me that my new phone number would be in operation the day I moved in. Four days after I moved in , the phone was still not working. I called their customer service number from my office phone, expecting that I would simply tell some person my problem and they would promptly arrange to fix it. Instead, I got a “voice” which said “you can speak directly to the sysem”. Actually, the “voice” spoke much more than I did. It only let me say “yes” or “no”, even though I needed to say, “no, but…”. Finally, after about ten minutes of this, the “voice” told me something on the order of “I’m sorry, but I really can’t help you. Please call back again later”. Then the voice said that if there was any other problem, I should press “one” and (here is the secret I learned that day) speak the word “agent”. I discovered that this was the secret word that let’s you circumvent the “system” and talk to an actual live person. I discovered that using the secret word really worked. In fact, you didn’t have to go through the whole discussion with the “voice”. You could just say the secret word any time and you would be in touch with a live person. Of course, there was always the possibility that the live person was not the right live person. But that’s another story.
I decided that I would write that secret word down so that whenever I contacted some company and got a “voice” or “system”, I would just say the secret word – “agent”. The only problem was that that secret word didn’t work for a lot of other organizations. It seems that each one had their own secret word. The good news was and still is that I found a magazine article that provided a list of secret words used by various organizations.
Actually, while it’s good to know these secret words, and various other approaches that get you through and around the many technological systems we have to deal with today, there is something that’s even more important to know. While our society is increasingly communicating through automated “voices” and “systems”, whose purpose really seems to be to keep you from talking with a real live person, there is someone you can talk to any and all the time, without going through any intermediaries. Yes, you can talk to God, any time and all the time. There is no secret here. God will always listen to you. And if you just keep your heart and mind, as well as your eyes and ears, open, you will hear Him answer you. Maybe not just when you want Him to, or how you want Him to. But in His time and His way, He will answer you. And He will always give you the right answer. We call that two way communication with God – PRAYER.
As we continue in the season of Easter, let us spend much of our time in prayer, speaking and listening to God. And don’t just ask God to give you this or that, but give thanks that He gives us the ability to communicate with Him and experience Him in our lives, even when we have to deal with automated “voices” and “systems”.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty and Ray