I Was Lost Without My Phone But God Found Me
We were in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. We had booked a cabin on a ranch and were almost there. Our plans to stop for lunch and play at a park in a nearby town until we could check in had been thwarted by rain and lack of a park. Because our phones had lost ALL capabilities of texting, calling, and searching, I couldn’t phone my friend Google for help.
So there we sat in an unfamiliar town with no real plan. And if you know anything about me, it’s that I like plans.
Eventually, we made it to the ranch, checked into our cabin, and were bombarded by, “Can we swim? I want to fish! Let's check out the horses!” We had four kids and a baby (who needed to be fed) simultaneously wanting five different things.
And we still needed to find a place to eat supper, but our phones continued to offer ZERO support.
After unloading, we headed back into the nearby town and found a free WiFi spot at the local library—we sent texts explaining we were off the grid. It felt like we were in a bad horror movie and the next scene involved search dogs and police officers questioning how a family of seven could just disappear.
Later that night, the drama continued as kid after kid woke up feeling frightened in an unfamiliar room. And then a storm rumbled through.
The anxious voices in my head were almost louder than the thunder outside.
I desperately wanted to grab my phone and check the radar to assure myself we were not about to be swept away by a tornado.
But I couldn’t.
I began to pray Philippians 4:6-7 over and over again, “Do not be anxious about anything…”
I sang the chorus of a favorite song over and over again, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here…”
When the familiar words came out empty, that’s when I realized my phone had become my idol. I didn't want God, I wanted my phone.
When I needed direction… I was lost without my GPS or the ability to research what to do next. Instead of calling out to my God in prayer asking for His intervention, I incessantly tried my phone, despairing when it wouldn’t work.
When I needed connection… I felt alone, unable to text my family letting them know we had arrived followed by their immediate responses. Sure, I knew God was beside me, but I forgot to call on Him and listen for His voice.
When I needed to feel safe… I craved the reassurance of the radar instead of trusting God to help me weather the storm. I fretted like the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.
My phone was my idol.
Not in the sense I was choosing to spend time on it above all else or that its apps were consuming me. No. My phone was my idol because I was relying on it for my comfort and security. I was reaching for it instead of my God.
Too often, I have chosen to ask Siri instead of seeking the Lord. And the consequences of my idolatry left me an anxious and frustrated mess when my idol failed me.
Our God will never fail us though. We can never go too far to be out of His reach. His signal never weakens. His battery never drains.
He is faithful, and we must protect His place in our lives. We should put no other gods before Him. Not even the kind that are useful.
I had been relying on my phone for comfort and security when that place should have been reserved for my God.
In the middle of nowhere Oklahoma, I surrendered my anxious soul to the Lord once again. I asked Him to consume me, to fill me, to be the first option.
I confessed my idolatry and gave thanks for His grace.
The next morning, our cell signal returned. But my phone spent most of its time tucked away in the cabin and in a tiny corner of my heart. The challenge is to keep it there.