Living Remotely

The other night we were decorating our house for Christmas (I know it's early, but this year all rules are out the window), and my husband asked me if we had a box or container to contain all of our remotes. I looked at the end table where we keep the remotes and said, "Ok, yeah, I'll find something." I ventured into the basement and found a cute little box with Santas all over it - perfect for keeping with the festive theme! What really got me, however, is that I put EIGHT remote controls into that box! EIGHT. I'm going to list them for you so you don't think I'm exaggerating. We have a remote for: the TV, the cable box, the Apple TV, the electric fire place, the ceiling fan, the new flameless candles, the barbecue smoker, the awning on our deck, and lastly the new blinds installed on our windows. This does not include the apps we have on our phone to turn lights on and off or raise and lower the garage door.

It seems like everything we have works by remote control - we don't have to get near the device to operate it. I thought about that word remote. We use it a lot these days. Most people are working or doing school remotely. My husband has worked from home for years and I'm not sure he's actually met many of the folks on his team now in person. He's remarked that due to current conditions, it's possible they won't get into their office in person any time soon for meetings or gatherings.

While my many remote controls are extremely convenient and it's been helpful to have technology to work and do school remotely something doesn't feel quite right about it. We were made to be in relationship with one another and as far as work goes, I do believe God wants us to actually put our hands to work from time to time. It's difficult to be in or maintain relationships if we are constantly separated from one another - even with all the technology. In fact, the "helpful"technology often gets in the way - we can't truly know someone's heart or tone through a text or social media posting. Physical distance can lead to emotional and spiritual distance if we're not careful.

James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and the He will draw near to us. God is all about being in relationship with us! But we can't do it remotely - we have to show up, in person. It's the same with our marriages or friendships. We can't expect to have the same level of understanding and intimacy online as we can in person. But, if you're like me, it's easy to default to remote living because sometimes it really is easier. Just like my home, I don't always want to get up and cross the room to turn on the tv or the fan. If I'm not careful with the people in my life, I'll take the easy way out and send a text instead of getting in the car to see the person face to face.

Psalm 61 references remote living. Verse 2 says, "from the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint, Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." This psalm is pretty relevant these days. I hear moms crying out that their kids are tired of distance learning and are yearning to be with teachers and friends. Family members feel separated and isolated on this holiday weekend because they aren't able to see loved ones. I know I have experienced feeling separated and isolated for lots of reasons the past year. The lesson here is to call out to God. Tell Him our hearts are faint - we've had enough, we need something more. His answer might not mean the immediate end to the pandemic or social strife - but I guarantee if we're honest in our cries, He'll be faithful with an honest response.

Yesterday, I was praying for a friend and wondering how she was doing. I thought, I ought to call and check on her. In her line of work as a counselor I supposed that she is often in the business of checking on others but probably doesn't have many people checking on her. But, like most of my thoughts, I didn't act and I quickly forgot to call her and got busy with other things. Twenty minutes later, my phone rang and it was her. She was checking on me! I asked her if she had ESP and she chuckled. We had a great conversation and were able to lift one another up. Isn't God good? Even when I failed to draw close and call my friend, He brought her to me!

He's faithful even in our failings. He's near even when we are apart. He's a good and loving Father who wants us close, under His wings and in the shelter of His love. If remote living has you tired, lonely, worn out, or afraid - cry out to God - even if it's been awhile. He longs to love you. And also, call the person you're thinking about - you might be surprised to find out they're thinking about you, too.