What would you do if tomorrow you had no internet?
How much does your phone, tablet, or computer define your life, and give you purpose?
Remember the days before smartphones? Before traversing the globe was just a click away?
Before words on a screen was the preferred form of communication?
Before Google had an answer for everything?
Without driving to the library or cracking open a book, my kids and I learned in 10 minutes:
- What’s a carbuncle?
- Does a double-yolk egg produce twin chicks?
- How do you pronounce ‘bonacieux’?
Pretty cool, huh?!
Before this blog, I had a stretch of fifteen months with no internet, thanks to a corporate conglomerate’s arbitrary decision to power down our remote cell tower. (You did know we live out in the boonies, right?).
I had no Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google.
No email, Instagram, or internet research.
No blog reading or commenting.
I couldn’t even text or make an ACTUAL phone call. It was rough.
It was bad enough not being able to make a phone call when I needed to but having my online world vanish caused me a real sense of loss.
This sudden change in lifestyle made me realize how much we take for granted, how much we expect external things to make us happy, and how deprived we feel when they are gone.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly we get used to something and then can’t imagine what we did before we had it?
Hmmm . . . somehow we survived doing other things.
There’s an ethereal strangeness to this cyber world we’re all connected to.
Our fingers speak but with no inflection. We’re touched by the kindness of a comment but can’t feel it on our skin. We share, but without hugs and laughter, and despite the plethora of emojis out there, we miss that special look in the eyes that says, “I hear you, you’re not alone.” Or “You’re kidding me, right?”
My online friends are more than their smiling blog photos. They struggle with dinner plans and cleaning up the same messes (over and over again), tuck their kids in bed each night, and shed tears over common frustrations, just like me.
I may have never seen them with my own eyes, but these women affect my life with a depth I couldn’t fathom before.
During my forced hiatus, this strange planet, Internet, continued to revolve without me. Snatched from home, I was transported to a distant star, a faraway outpost on Planet Obscure.
These unseen friends, these women of my heart, I would think of often—all the while fearful of being forgotten.
The waiting was a heavy cloak I wore, and it grieved me.
I could not see an end to this long silence as I wearily scanned the barren sky.
But God spoke loud and clear of His love and purpose for me every time I opened the leather-bound Book on my desk.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
We want to be known and loved by others, but with God, there is no striving for recognition, no competition and comparisons, no fear of missing out.
We are sought after by our One True Friend.
God is with us always
God is not subject to power outages, signal towers, or even our senses. He is more real than our eyes can behold, our ears can detect, and our arms can embrace.
When all is lost—He is there.
When no one knows you—He does.
When nothing quite satisfies—He always will.
Losing my connection to something I believed would provide happiness and a sense of identity had stripped me to the bare reality that nothing but Christ can give me what I need.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:4–5
I’ve been rescued from Planet Obscure for a while now.
Rescued not because I now have internet service again (which I am ever thankful for), and not because I now have sweet women to call my friends (you know who you are and I love you!).
Rescued because I know that nothing else is meant to be my source of joy, give me worth, or provide me purpose in this life except Christ.
Sometimes, it takes a stranding to be found.
What would I do if I lost internet signal tomorrow?
- First off, I’ll be honest, I’d cry. I’d miss my fellow sisters-in-Christ terribly. This would be by far the hardest thing to endure. But, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
- Second, I’d be sad I couldn’t blog. Writing my stories and connecting with all of you does good for this introvert soul, but I’d take up crossword puzzles and quilting again, and write in my journal like I used to do. I might even clean the house.
- Third, I’d read books, books that open without power, whose pages rustle delightfully through my fingers, like I used to do.
- And last and most importantly, I’d keep reaching for the Word of life, where true peace and purpose reside.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. Psalm 34:22
What would you do if tomorrow you had no internet?
(Tell me. Really, I’d like to know).
Abiding in the Vine,
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The post “On a Faraway Outpost” was first published on Desert Rain.