July 2016

“It’s just died – what am I going to do?”   Diane woke to find her smart phone had a blank screen.  It had ‘frozen’ the day before, but seemed to be working again, but in the morning it seemed lifeless.  Diane tried plugging in the phone – it has once or twice suffered from a (very) low battery.  This time, there was no resurrection, no sign of life.  We discovered that our Barclay Bank cover was active even though we’d not updated the change of phone; for £50, the phone would be repaired or replaced.  Diane moved as as swiftly as Post Office opening times allowed, and the phone, duly wrapped, was sent by registered post to the phone hospital.  Each day Diane’s phone was away, she missed it more and more.  Ringing her friend Pauline to go for a walk, texting her daughter, smiling at the photograph of her distant grandson, being available for her nearby grandson and daughter in law – all of it came grinding to a halt.

In desperation, she seized my phone and sent a most confusing set of texts: “I have no phone, its being repaired” “I’ve take over Dad’s old phone” Me: “It’s not my ‘old’ phone – and at least it works! And its temporary. And its still MINE!” Diane “We’re sharing it”  Woven in and out of these texts, one son understood Diane now owned my phone and enquired whether she was taking my number or keeping her own, one got confused with a landline phone which we had offered and had gone to Emma, so now thought Diane’s phone had gone to Emma, while another conversation observed that it wasn’t Euan this time (he’d managed to kill two phones previously including accidentally poring squash over Diane’s phone)  As the days wore on, Diane really missed the instant accessibility of her phone.

The irony of this is that a short while ago, she was notorious for not having her phone switched on.  When you tried to contact her, you just got the voicemail.  E-mails were accessed months after they had been sent.  Diane would ring for a lift, leave a message on your voicemail and then switch the phone off immediately, so when you rang back, you only got her voicemail.  When I made this observation, the children all agreed it was a regular event; Diane countered by observing when she discussed this with her teacher colleagues, they all agreed that it was just sensible ‘to save your battery’ – apparently the younger teachers were laughing and shaking their heads!  When Diane wanted ‘not your old cast off, but my own NEW i-phone’ the deal was that she learnt to use it fully and it replaced the family landline (which is why there was a spare landline phone for Emma!)  Diane fully rose to the challenge, and slowly, the i-phone became a daily extension of her personality and communication. And now it was dead.  Its availability was now taken for granted, and now it was intensely missed.

A text was sent to my phone; Diane’s phone was fixed and returning.  The package was eagerly awaited, opened immediately on arrival, and the cherished phone activated and used.  “What a relief to get it back.” Diane smiled.  A sentiment I shared – What a relief to get my phone back!

Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne, was being interviewed on the Early Show by Jane Clayson, regarding the terrorist attack ‘911’ the attack by hijacked planes on 11th September 2001. She was asked, “How could God let something like this happen?” She said, “I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are. But, for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?”  (See more at http://inspire21.com/stories/christianstories/tellinggodtogetout)

In the Bible’s Old Testament, the people of Israel in the time of ‘Judges’ get into a cycle: they get invaded by cruel surrounding nations and are oppressed, they cry out to God, he raises a leader and rescues them, they praise God, take him for granted, turn their backs on him, get invaded, cry out… Taking God for granted, turning our backs on Him, or even deciding He’s not there all belong together:

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand,  who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt(The Bible, Psalm 53.1-3).

Praying that you may find in the constant love of God in Christ a joy and a challenge to refresh every day and renew every morning.

Your servant in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Simon Cox.

You can find the full text of the July Herald here