I vividly remember the first time that I saw someone sending an email. I even remember what I was wearing when I first encountered this… The year was 2001. I had never heard a thing about the internet. The quickest means of communication that I knew of back then was the telephone and that still amazed me.
The email was sent by my uncle to one of his employer’s clients. The message was nine words. This information may sound irrelevant to those of you who never had to calculate the cost of sending a telegraph as question 48 of KCPE Mathematics exam. But once upon a time you had to pay a certain amount for each word of the message that you sent. I thought emails worked the same way. This is probably why my uncle sent such a short message.
I’m not sure why that particular event etched itself into my hippocampus (yes, I Googled that). Quite frankly I don’t remember anything else about that day.Maybe it’s because my uncle was done sending it in seconds and let me back at his computer to finish my Pacman game (again, y’all born after 1999 have no clue what a rush Pacman was). But what struck me the most was that his message had been received in South Africa and a reply had come in before I finished my game.
What sorcery was this? That a message could travel thousands of kilometers in seconds!
Even more importantly, why were we still writing letters home yet adults had this awesome new technology?
But I’m not here to talk about the wonders of technology. Quite frankly, I’m still playing catchup on TikTok.
I am here here because I have struggled (and sometimes still struggle) to communicate with God. I know a lot of holy joe Christians who would never confess such a thing and good for you – if you don’t struggle – but let me take a moment to talk to those of us who do.
The irony of this is that, unlike emails and phones which involve the usage of equipment to communicate, communicating with God only requires that I simply…talk. I don’t even have to open my mouth to do it. All I gotta do is think about it.
So why am I struggling? Is it the words? Is it the time? Is it the English?
Yes, I struggle. Why though? Perhaps it’s because sometimes I’m angry with God. Yes, I said it. Sometimes, I do get angry with God and it affects the way I communicate with Him. I want to say that I give Him the silent treatment – but it’s not that simple.
Yes, I struggle. Why though? Perhaps it’s because sometimes the weight of my guilt from a sin I have committed is crushing me. And I don’t want to go before the ONE against whom I have sinned. So I run away, much like Jonah.
Yes, I struggle. Why though? Perhaps it’s because a lot of times there are more fun things to do instead: an anime that needs completing, a movie that needs watching, a cat video that needs laughing at, and probably a DIY that needs trying.
Therefore, I think of talking to God and say
“I’ll talk to Him after I’m done having fun.”
Yes, I struggle. Why though? Because a lot of times when I speak to Him, He doesn’t answer. There are times I have been so desperate to hear from my Heavenly Father that I have read my Bible for hours on end, desperate to hear something, anything – even if it’s just the clearing of His throat. There are times I have sat in the silence of my house with my eyes closed and my ears plugged so I don‘t have any distractions, so I don’t miss anything. But even so, all I get is radio silence.
YES, I struggle. Why though? I dare say; it’s the disconnect. See, long before man invented the wheel, God was communing with man. Genesis 1-3 tells a story of how God took evening walks with His creation. The hopeless romantics will agree that walking together in the cool of the day is one of the best things ever.
So how did we go from having long walks with God to not being able to have a conversation with Him? Maybe we forgot how to consult God. We forgot how to hear from Him. See, my struggle to communicate with God more often than not is not because I don’t hear from Him. It’s because He doesn’t say what I want to hear and that… in itself … makes me upset.
What I constantly forget is that as a loving Father, God is not in the business of making me feel good. He is in the business of making me more like His Son. He is in the business of purifying me, molding me, getting me all cleaned up. Most of that involves making me very uncomfortable. Hence, I struggle and mostly because my Bible is constantly lying on my desk in the house, unopened for days…sometimes weeks…on end… Just because it doesn’t say what I want it to say.
See God would take evening walks and engage in conversation. He enjoyed it so much that the one evening Adam didn’t show up God asked about his whereabouts.
Imagine the intimacy!
God comes over to your house, asks you to join Him on His evening walk, y’all go out and take a leisurely stroll, discussing Bobo the bear and wondering whether Happy the cat will have her kittens soon.
Today’s version of that is in a portable library of 66 books. But because I want intimacy without the work needed, my Bible remains unopened and my tongue is ever complaining.
A close friend once told me:
“If God cared about how you feel, He’d have written a self-help book. God cares about where you’ll spend eternity and so He’s given you a library of books to help get you where you need to be.”
However, getting to the right side of eternity is no mean feat. It’s not the sort of thing I can do on my own. That’s why that library is not about what I feel, but about what I need.
Therefore, much like my uncle’s nine-word email had all that his client needed to know, so does my Bible have all I need to know. But since my struggle is about what I feel, I will always have that disconnect.