The phone beeps. One of the mothers in our WhatsApp group is sending a message: "God awakened the conscience of a boy who had gone astray. He wanted to come back to his own people. To believe his doubts and sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. "
Soon the phone beeps again. And again and again. The mothers in the group shed tears of joy because of the return of the prodigal son. Emotional messages.
One day later I get a different message. A sad message. After a prolonged illness, a grandfather has laid down his traveling staff. He passed away into eternal rest during the night. We console our friend in her grief with messages and gentle words. What is the most important thing? Reminding messages.
A photo message on the second day of the new year: a newlywed young couple walking down the aisle. Excitement, anticipation, purity, love. All that in the same picture. Later in the day a message from the bride’s mother: “I feel exhausted and all touchy.”
I have tears in my eyes. I remember well the card we received while still in Finland. A wedding invitation! How lovely! I had to let them know we could not come – we were moving ahead of the original schedule. The oldest child of my dear friend, also my personal friend. May the Heavenly Father bless your marriage, dear young friends! ”Honor one another above yourselves”, I wrote to them. Messages of congratulation.
Messages from our children in Finland to our family group. They seem to come closer, though we are thousands of miles apart. Many pictures in the messages. And requests for pictures. ”Send me even a picture of the little ones. I’m lonesome for them.”
Happy messages: ”I can book the flights now!” Cheerful expectation!
My own messages to a son who seldom disturbs me with his news.”How is life? Are you still working? Have you had a haircut? When will the military service begin?” I often get the same response: ”Quite oq.” But he is alive. Healthy. Good! Everyday messages.
The teenaged boy uses his smart phone like an extension of his hand. Contacts with his friends from school and the confirmation camp are important. The 10-hour time difference is a nuisance. We do not like him to stay up texting most of the night instead of sleeping. Compromises. It makes you less lonesome when you can discuss with trusted friends. Friendship messages – being near from so far away.
The two adults in our family text to check the shopping list. To make sure the spouse is happy about a purchase. To settle disagreements. Caustic words or gentle affection. ”I still love you.” Love messages. Not always in flowery language. ”Put the kids to bed!”
Messaging has shortened the distance to Finland. Helped us settle in our new home. Given us strength when we have needed it. Reminded us of believing friends across the ocean. What we cannot express in our messages is the new wide open environment where we live. We are surrounded by majestic mountains shimmering in haze, breathtakingly beautiful.
The smells, the colors, the diversity of people. The hectic traffic, the tens of lanes at highway intersections. The new tastes, the new customs, the new climate. Our messages cannot convey the fact that, here too, we hear the familiar voice of the Good Shepherd – in English. Although I have not yet been able to understand a full sermon in the foreign language, I have felt happy to be at services. I had to send a small video clip from the church to my group of friends. Video messages.
Let us keep in touch! Let us also remember each other in the most important way of messaging. In prayer.
The blog post was published in online Päivämies on 20 Jan. 2016.
Jumala ei ole jättänyt luomakuntaa oman onnensa nojaan. Näin todettiin Suomen Rauhanyhdistysten Keskusyhdistyksen (SRK) vuodenvaihteen puhujienkokouksessa Jyväskylän rauhanyhdistyksellä. Luottamus Jumalan johdatukseen nousi esille monessa puheenvuorossa. Keskustelun johdannoksi kuultiin Esa Koukkarin pitämä alustus aiheesta Jumala on luomakunnan Herra.