i-touch God

My first instinct in coming downstairs the morning, after a drink of water or hot tea (I don’t drink coffee) and a bite of whatever is sitting on the counter in a Tupperware container, is to check my phone for any text messages that arrived during the night. My next inclination is to immediately open my laptop and check my email, swiftly followed by a scan through my facebook page. Occasionally, I’ll refrain from the facebook visit because I know that facebook is a dark hole consuming time and creative energy with only the click of a button.

I’m not saying this is my normal morning routine—usually I am disciplined and productive from the get-go—but it is my instinct, and when I ignore it, I am cognizant of the ache lurking deep inside me—the anticipation that a message is waiting for me, if only I will open my laptop or my phone to see it.

My husband does the same type of thing. My kids, too, but they start with their tweets and text messages, followed by Sports Center. At some point in the morning, I also will want to pull up my website and scroll to the counter or manage the comments, but usually I preface the action with something spiritual or sacrificial (like making breakfast and lunches). It feels guiltily but excitedly egocentric to hit my webpage right off the bat.

In addition to some tired hugging, this is our family’s morning touching-base routine. Without my “good mornings” and “don’t forgets” or their conversations with each other about Sports Center, there might not even be talking. Seeing this in print, actually, is a bit embarrassing.

How convenient it would be if God could just post a message on my wall or tweet me the inspirational challenge He knows I need for the day as I sit at my kitchen table and check up on my world. It would be multi-tasking par excellence, a phenomenal use of my time and resources. Or if only God had a blog, so that whenever He wrote something new, I’d get a message and link sent to my email. Send me a message, Lord. We can call it i-touch.

I’m confident I’d enjoy those tweets and posts—each would be applicable and inspirational, and re-tweetable, of course. I could bless all my contacts and followers by sharing His words.

But God has messaged me already. He’s compiled it and proved it as a valuable resource for the last several thousand years. It carries instruction for every situation in which I might find myself.

Yet it sits on my kitchen counter—it’s even on my phone and computer—just waiting to be opened. God’s “blessings may be new every morning,” but sadly, they often go unread. Like the facebook message that never gets noticed, God’s messages are sent at the precise moment of need, yet typically un-read. I’m too egocentric to look for Him.

No one living an egocentric life ever finds truth. If I live this life, I will only see and experience my own truth, which is seldom truthful. I will expect solutions to arrive in a timely fashion, clothed attractively so that I will want to receive them. How narcissistic! Am I that immature that I require someone to feed me spiritually, and not just feed me, but feed me only what I deem palatable? Do I really expect God to dip the little spoon in the green beans covered craftily with applesauce and fly it toward my mouth with airplane noises?

Sure, I’ll receive that, I think. I’ll take correction and instruction from him if they were easier to get.

But that’s not true. I won’t receive a text from God any more readily than I will pick up His words and read them.

And why not? Why don’t I crave the touch-points with God like I do the touch-points on my facebook wall or the followers on my twitter account?

The i-touch for God, the mechanism required for relational interaction, is simple: desire. I won’t do any particular thing if I don’t desire it.  The converse is also true: if I never do it, I won’t learn to desire it. Can a craving for God be manufactured? Is that even spiritual? Those struggling with the concept would say no, just wait for the desire to come (like it’s God’s responsibility to make us desire Him).

In reality, He’s already done everything to make us desire Him. It’s called redemption. But our own self-absorption prevents us from considering that we are deficient without Him, therefore eliminating the desire for Him. Desire for good things always comes through deliberate (and usually painful) choices, like learning to eat vegetables or confessing our faults. However, a desire for bad things, like eating sugar cookies or deceiving our parents, comes naturally and easily, because it’s part of our fallen nature. Hence, the action is desirable. (Well, cookies may not be from the sinful nature, but you get my point.)

So what about the i-touch? How do I touch Him and be touched by Him every day?

It’s all up to me—the reaching, the reading, the praying, the craving. Re-tweetable answers are already waiting for me.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. –Psalm 63:1