I was at a family get together a few weeks ago when I noticed my eldest grandson, who is not three until the end of October, playing a game on his mother’s iphone. He was totally engrossed, moving little characters around on the touch-screen to get through the various levels of the game. As we watched, Jackie, my wife, whispered in my ear, ‘phone him’. I took out my own phone and dialled his mother’s number. I expected him to be startled and to jump a little, a sort of 21st century ‘boo’, but what happened actually surprised me. As the phone rang, his face lit up and in an instant the phone was to his ear and he was saying, ‘hello, hello!’
Smart phones have changed the world. We can debate whether it’s a good or a bad thing but it is simply a fact. Any gathering of teenagers seems to consist of them sitting together whilst accessing their smartphones. Yesterday, a report by the communications regulator Ofcom stated that the main living room TV was making a comeback as less children had TVs in their bedrooms and so were spending their time in the living room with their families whilst accessing social media and games etc of their smartphones.
There is a dark side to this as well as we’ve witnessed this week too, with people thinking they can threaten all kinds of violence against others (particularly women), things they would never dream of saying in person, just because it is done anonymously from behind a phone or a computer screen. There is also the growing problem of cyber bullying. It’s unacceptable but we are watching the legal system that is struggling to come to terms with a completely new landscape.
Before I get too judgemental, I should perhaps take the plank from my own eye. If there was ever a Talbot Green branch of Iphones Anonymous, I would have to attend and stand and say; ‘My name is Phil Lewis and I’m an iphone addict’. Sadly, I also sit in the living room with the TV on and check the twitter feeds. It’s so sad; I’m old enough to know better.
All of this has led me to think about a very different time. Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, ruler of an empire that stretched from Libya to India and a man with absolute power. Nehemiah was obviously afraid of Artaxerxes as he was not a man to take lightly and could give an order for his execution any moment;
“So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid.” (Nehemiah 2:2)
Yet his eyes are on the greater, eternal king;
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:11)
In a situation of unbelievable stress and pressure, Nehemiah accesses not Google or Facebook, he has access to God himself;
“The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven,” (Nehemiah 2:4)
Of course it would be wrong to say that Nehemiah’s prayer life consisted of these ‘bullet prayers’, he had previously prayed and fasted for many days (Nehemiah 1:4) but there in the throne room of a pagan king, Nehemiah accessed heaven.
The wonderful truth is that God cares about people and hears their prayers;
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
God is a loving father; he delights in his children and loves to spend time with them. Today, whatever your circumstances, why not access the King of the Universe.
Finally can I apologise for the lack of posts in recent months, I been busy with my iphone