In the fall of 1955, my family moved from Kansas to a small town about thirty miles southwest of Houston, a place called Alvin, the home of baseball star Nolan Ryan. This was before the two towns grew until they are only a few miles apart.
Back then, if you wanted to call someone, you found a pay phone and spent a dime, a rate that had only recently doubled. However, finding a pay phone was only useful if the person you wanted to reach had a phone. Calling a business was easy enough, but about half the people didn’t have a phone at home. For many, a long distance call was made by cupping your hands around your mouth and yelling as loud as possible.
Somewhere in the midst of my fourth-grade education, I learned about speaking tubes, two cones connected by an air pipe so the ship captain could make long-distance calls to the crew. I had never heard of “acoustic phones,” which applied the same sound-transmission principle found in a tight string joining two tin cans. That was something I had to try at home.
The transatlantic cable put into service in 1956 could carry 36 simultaneous phone calls. While that doesn’t sound like much when compared to the 80,000 calls that can now be handled on a fiber-optic cable between the United States and Europe, it was the best we had ever achieved.
With the amazing technological advances we have today, we still face the same challenge—how to make a connection with someone who doesn’t know you exist. How can a phone call or email be identified as “not spam” but someone who has something important to say, someone who really wants to help?
You can call, but will anyone answer? If not, a connection can’t be made.
I’m wondering how God feels about all this, because he’s been calling since the beginning of time, waiting for people to pick up the phone. A few have answered, but what about the rest? Who will convince them that they should answer?
Maybe . . . just maybe . . . if we’ve made a connection with the Lord and understand the importance of talking to him all the time, we have a responsibility to encourage others to answer their calls.
Lord, when I dial 9-1-1, you should know I’m in trouble and need you to answer right away. — Psalm 102:2, Frank Ball paraphrase