When I was growing up, the thought of communicating with someone in another room was done only one way: by shouting. Cell phones were non-existent, and even walkie-talkies were unavailable. That’s why it was exciting to put empty soup cans at both ends of a long string and talk into the cans. Two rooms away someone could actually hear you. Childhood pals sometimes strung a line between their two homes, cleverly talking well past bedtime.
Another pre-cell-phone way to stay connected with friends was epitomized on TV in a series called “The Goldbergs,” aired in the 1950’s. Molly Goldberg would lean our her apartment window and holler to her neighbor, “Yoo hoo!” and the two would converse across the corner of their building.
Cell phones have eliminated the need for such creative communication, but last week my next-door-neighbor and I harkened back to the old ways. Linda knew Birgitta was going to learn the gender of her unborn baby on Thursday. “Maybe you could put a piece of pink or blue paper in your kitchen window. We’ll look out our bathroom window and discover the news.”
And so after Birgitta opened her tell-tale cookie and realized she was having a girl, we hung a pink paper in the window. When Linda saw it, she taped up a response: a baby picture with a pink bow in her hair.
So who needs cell phones?
Something about this primitive but festive way of communicating was very satisfying. It was creative, free, and lots more fun than calling Linda on the phone. In a way, it reminded me of the creative ways God communicates with us.
Sometimes he makes the words of the Bible leap off the page with personal meaning. At other times he speaks through the mouth of a friend or pastor. Then there are our thoughts, which he can shape to lead us to him. Even a potent dream can be used in special ways to influence us for his purposes. Books can also alert us to his messages, and experiences in nature can prompt us to worship him.
Our part is to be sure we’re listening and watching for whatever it is he wants to say. If Linda and I hadn’t remembered to look out our windows, we would’ve missed the happy messages. In the same way, if we race through our days without thinking of what God might be telling us, we could easily miss out.
It’s good to know he’s consistently trying to get through to us and won’t give up trying. And because there’s no end to his creativity, you never know how he might choose to get through. If you pick up a soup can and listen carefully, who knows what you might hear.
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)