calling

Up Close And Personal… ?

Up Close and Personal…?

‘Dial… Ring, ‘Click’, “Hello, Thank you for holding, your call is important to us, we’ll connect you with the next available consultant …”
From there, you’ll endure repetitive, mind-rotting computer music. Or worse, recorded sales pitches that recommend your logging on to the same website that has denied your access. How ironic – since that’s why you’ve called their helpline.
It’s all so impersonal. And so different to an episode from my pastoral days in Portland, on Victoria’s southwest coast. A newly arrived teacher had visited our worship service with his family from Heywood, a small town a few miles inland, and left us his contact details. I was keen to follow him up, more to offer help with settling into his new community than hooking him into the Church, despite God’s having designed Church to be more enjoyed than endured…   
Back then, Heywood’s telephone exchange was manual – one of Australia’s last to be automated – so we only ever needed to say the numbers to the operator. Calling the operator to arrange the connection, I gave his number. But instead of saying, ‘Putting you through,’ she said: ‘They’re not home. I’ll connect you to the principal’s home because he’s invited them to a new staff members’ dinner.’
In small towns, if you don’t know what you’re doing, everybody else knows. But wow – what efficiency!
But if we don’t know what we’re doing anywhere, God knows, and He’s available.  Not to pounce, even if we feel nervous or inadequate whenever He gets a mention, for God’s middle name is ‘Love’ – fear’s greatest antidote. He invites us to see what changes we can make, and He offers to help us with changes we cannot make. 
We only have to be honest. Like the honesty that spreads throughout 150 Psalms (or prayers) in the middle of the Bible, which reveal God’s access into every human emotion. He’s not running for cover, or impassively observing, or offering prerecorded sales pitches. Instead, he’s up close and personal, releasing His grace to absorb the poison in our deepest tensions.
Being honest with Him opens our eyes to all His help. For as we re-examine our challenges, He reveals opportunities that have been hiding all along. Furthermore, as we accept His Spirit within us, we develop healthier habits to keep growing on the inside. He also encourages and supports us through other believers and offers timeless, attitude-adjusting truths in the Bible.


– Noel Mitaxa, ‘Inviting you to explore God’s love’.