A few weeks ago I made an amazing discovery. Ok, it’s not amazing compared to the discovery of Australia or a new galaxy but it did amaze me. I discovered that my movements were being monitored and even being predicted by my phone.
I was just about to leave to do our weekly grocery shopping trip when as I picked up my phone I managed somehow to open a screen that was new to me. It displayed the message; “Right now, it would take you 18 minutes to drive to Cardiff”. I then clicked on to the message and it opened a route in Apple Maps that navigated me from my house to Asda Supermarket in Coryton, Cardiff.
So the phone had monitored my movements and knew that late Saturday afternoons were when I did the shopping trip. I have of course been opening the screen regularly since and found that it knows when I am due go to church, when I meet at a friend’s house for prayer and it’s always able to tell me how long it would take to drive home. Some might say, ‘this is a bit creepy’ but to be fair, it’s a feature that can be turned off.
It seems that our lives are very much ‘on the radar’, we are ‘connected’ in so many ways. We are monitored by software companies and security services, our movements are being tracked by CCTV cameras and we face the pressure to monitor one another via numerous social media platforms.
If you doubt this just do a search for a mobile phone or a fishing rod and then watch the averts that show up mysteriously offering products very similar to the ones you’ve been searching for. It’s no wonder some just want to opt out of this constricting nonsense.
If so many of us are uneasy with the thought that we are being watched by others, it’s surprising that we manage to live as if our lives are hidden from God. We can be super-spiritual in church and then live 90% of the time as if he doesn’t exist or at least doesn’t know what we’re doing.
God is omniscient, that is, he is all-knowing. It’s not that God spies on us, he just knows everything. As I’ve heard one of our visiting speakers (Pete Hodge) say, ‘has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God’? That is amazing in itself but perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that he knows us yet he still loves us.
It is possible to admire someone from a distance but so often when we really know the person they are a disappointment. I’m sure God has been disappointed with me on countless occasions, never surprised but certainly disappointed and yet he still loves me. He has plans for me and when my life is over he will bring me into his presence. Now that really is amazing.
“O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:1-10)