I have spent most of the week without any connection to the Internet, sadly not because I was in some remote but exotic location, but because of unresolved and apparently inexplicable problems with my Internet connection at home. This is an ongoing problem, but also intermittent: sometimes the connection is fine and I can go weeks without hitches; on other occasions, the connection drops for a couple of hours; on other occasions, I can lose connection lots of times within a day or even go days (as this week) without any connection. BT Broadband engineers are such frequent visitors at the house these days that one of them (who has now been three times) joked that he was going to book his Christmas dinner with us, because he was sure to be back… We have changed filters, routers, re-wired the system and even had something changed at the exchange. Each time the engineer leaves with a cheery ‘That’s solved the problem, then!’, only for us to see the little green lights on the router fail almost as soon as he walks out of the door… The problem appears to be worse in wet weather, which is bad news if you live in the UK; friends have joked that maybe it’s like incy-wincy spider; one suggested a Mac may be the solution if rain is the problem…
Apart from being irritating and annoying, making it difficult to work at times, losing this connection reminds me how dependent we have become on the Internet for information and contact with the outside world. People regularly communicate with me by email, but if I can’t receive the email, I don’t know what they’re saying. Bible studies are made easier by the variety of Bible versions and commentaries available at the click of a button; this week, I’ve had to dig out my paper copy of Cruden’s Concordance and Nave’s Topical Bible, much loved, but nowhere near as fast as their online versions! It’s also very difficult to compile an online photo book if you’ve no online connection!
Sometimes our relationship with God feels as intermittent as my Internet connection. There are days when He seems incredibly close and His voice so clear and speedy; I pray and the answer is there instantaneously (see Is 65:24). But on other occasions, He seems like a God playing hide-and-seek (see Is 45:15), and the heavens seem silent (see Ps 83:1). The Bible reassures us that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). His presence with us is constant and faithful, even when we cannot feel or see Him. As Rend Collective sing,
‘You are my shepherd
Your hand is strong when my faith is weak
Close as my heartbeat
You won’t forsake me
You are the love that will carry me.
And I won’t be afraid
I will trust Your heart and say,
I will never, ever, ever walk alone
You are with us, for us
Always holding on
Though I wander, Your love goes further.
You are my hope and future
I will never walk alone
I will never walk alone.’ (‘Never Walk Alone’, Rend Collective)