Recently I had the opportunity to join the Abingdon Women Team in Plano, Texas for a wonderful event as part of our new "Your Life, Your Faith" conferences. I boarded the plane and settled into my seat with no personal agenda other than to embrace what God had before me for this trip and to learn from these amazing women and their ministries.
Before we took off, I used the plane’s wi-fi and updated the Abingdon Women’s Facebook page from my tablet with a message that it wasn't too late for others to join us that night for the author’s event. Within just a moment, I connected to Twitter to do the same. However, I couldn't connect and couldn't connect. The wi-fi appeared to be active but when I clicked on it to double check, there was an advertisement for a $6.99 charge to connect to this “ever reliable and always available” in-flight network that I'd already been teased with from aboard the plane.
There was clearly no desperate message I needed to share with those Twitter followers, but I was still frustrated. I was indeed disconnected unless I paid the fee. I later tried one last time, just to make sure, then closed my browser and turned on some music to relax for the trip. For some reason, I was more frustrated that they had teased me with connectivity and felt disconnected. As if on cue with exactly what I needed to hear, The David Crowder Band began beautifully reminding me that "God is near to each one of us."
He is, isn't he? God is near to each of us, all the time. We cannot be disconnected or cut off from God by distance or charged a small fee for the ability to re-connect. I didn't need wi-fi, my tablet, my e-reader, my phone or my music in that moment. I simply needed to open my heart to God. Yes, all those tools may sometimes help me better connect with him. Ultimately however, it's only my willingness to open my heart and allow him to be near to me.
If I'm being honest, I enjoy the ease of using modern tools to share and connect with an ancient and timeless God. Tools like social media, my bible software, the internet, and volumes of references and commentaries in my pocket can be wonderful resources and often help me connect with other believers and deepen my knowledge. They can help quench my thirst for learning and sharing about God. They really can't help me be with God.
So, while I love modern tools, I also understand that they can easily (and sometimes often) get in the way of my connectivity with God. How do we keep ourselves open and available to God? How do we remain open to connect with his deep and abiding desire to connect with each one of us? For me, it means learning when and how to unplug and being open to his connectivity alone.
There is no charge for us to pay for this connectivity. Jesus paid those fees in full and in advance so that our connectivity to God is always available. Let's relish that and we may even enjoy being disconnected on occassion. I did.