“Only connect.” This famous epigraph to Howards End, a novel by the English writer E. M. Forster, encapsulates very well the author’s humanistic impulse toward communication, understanding, and sympathy. This novel was published in 1910. It may seem that since then we have achieved absolute communication. Unbound by the confines of geography and time, with our virtual lives on display for the “global village” to see, we are connected now, aren’t we?
And yet more and more studies show that all the instant connection of the Internet doesn’t eliminate loneliness and alienation. According to a recent article in The Atlantic magazine, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”, we have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. The article also states that social media might even be “interfering with our real friendships, spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.” One experiment came to the inevitable conclusion: “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are.” Our digital life revealed something about human nature—a connection is not the same thing as a bond.
Scholars call our digital interaction the “Internet paradox”—the contradiction between an immense ability to connect and a deficit of human bond. Our social interactions matter very much to us, of course. But we, as Christians, should also ask a legitimate question: Is the “Internet paradox” coloring our prayer life as well? Is our interaction with God changing in this digital age? Do we have “real friendship” with Him?
This month in Today in the Word, we will “eavesdrop” on the conversations that Abraham, Moses, David, Job, Hannah, and Joshua had with God, and we’ll get a glimpse of their bond with their Creator, Lord . . . and Friend. We’ll discover what they had to say about faith, obedience, sin, salvation, doubt, forgiveness, and many other topics. Some of them came to God in humility and fear; others came boldly and even shockingly. But all of them came to Him face to face. Their conversations were deep.
Our hope is that this month’s study, “Conversations with God,” will encourage you to look in a new way on your connection with God. Start a new conversation, embark on a journey, tell Him things you’ve always kept inside. Or maybe bring back that old conversation from years ago, with everything that you buried under a burden of pain. And listen. Perhaps some of you will want to renew your friendship with the Lord that has grown shallow, Facebook-style. Come to Him face to face, mouth to ear. As we read the intriguing words of Exodus 33:11, “The LORD would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend,” may we yearn to deepen our own bond with God.
And then again, if you would like to record this new journey of your conversations with God on your Facebook page or your Twitter account . . . well, naturally, that’s ok too.
By Elena Mafter, Associate Editor
Elena Mafter has been working at Moody’s Marketing and Communications department since 1999 and has been part of the Today in the Word team in a variety of roles: editor, proofreader, project coordinator, and contributing columnist. A transplant to the United States, she loves traveling, getting to know other cultures, and learning foreign languages.