“Sometimes I just hate emails and text messages,” Stan began one morning.
“Why?” I responded. “What makes you say that?
“Well,” Stan replied, “in the first instance, I think many people have lost, or are losing, the ability to have conversations face to face with other people.”
“Secondly,” he continued, “I think electronic communication, as convenient as it is, offers all sorts of opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstanding.”
“Oh,” I responded, “I have experienced that so many times. Frustrating to not know for certain what a person means by what is sent by email or text.”
“That exact thing happened to me yesterday,” Stan replied. “I have a neighbor who lives just a few houses away. For whatever reason, he prefers sending me text messages, rather than calling or coming for a visit.”
Continuing, he said, “Yesterday I got a text message from him that made no sense. It was actually kind of insulting. I didn’t understand what the text meant.”
“Did you get it figured out?” I asked.
“I did, finally,” Stan said. “I first tried to call him. No answer. Then I decided to just walk down the street and ask him.”
“Was he there?” I asked.
“He was,” Stan replied, “and when I told him I got his text message and didn’t understand what he meant, he looked at it and said something like, ‘Oh, that’s not what I meant to say’.”
“Turned out,” Stan continued, “that he had not checked the text before he sent it. There were some words in the text that made his message say the exact opposite of what he intended.”
“It must have felt good to get the straightened out,” I said.
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “And the whole thing reminded me of something the apostle John wrote at the very end of his third letter.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“John said that he had many more things to write, but that he was not going to include them in his letter. He was going to wait until he was face to face with the person to whom he was writing.”
“Better to communicate face to face,” I responded. It’s a much better way to communicate more clearly and to avoid any possible confusion. If a person doesn’t understand what is said, he or she can just ask for an explanation.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “I think this also applies to my communication with God in prayer. This is something we can talk more about another day, but, at least for me, conversing with God face to face helps me with any confusion I might have about what He is saying in His written word or, for that matter, what He may be doing in a particular instance.”
I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. 3 John 13, 14.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer. Thank you that you want to have conversation with me, and that you allow me to ask you for clarification when I do not understand what you are saying or doing. I confess that too often I do not take the time to have a real conversation with you. I just tell you what I want, without bothering to hear and to listen to what you want. I do not take the time to ask for an explanation of anything I do not understand. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your leading me into a deeper prayer life with you. Into the prayer life you have and intend for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.