When my grandmother was nearing 100 years old she would love to reminisce about her childhood, literally days of horse and buggies before automobiles were readily accessible. And yet in her lifetime man had landed on the moon, and then some! I’m not quite that old (!) but even I remember when not every home had a TV and if there was one, only the three major networks were available plus one public TV channel, all of which were “fuzzy”. The big thrill was if a show was in color instead of black and white. As a child, I had no idea how those programs could come out of that piece of furniture. It was magical, something beyond my comprehension, but, nevertheless, the experience, and my elation, were real. I could engage without needing to know how TVs worked.
Primitive man must have felt similarly when experiencing the forces of nature, thunder, lightning, rain, wind, sunshine, moonlight. Even observing birds in flight and seeing the ocean had to be (and still is) awe inspiring. Our human contributions to life at the time were so simple as we hunted for food and met our basic needs for shelter, all very tangible as we confronted each day’s challenges and developed the skills to survive. Fire became electricity, hydro and wind power, nuclear energy, and more. Spears became guns and sadly, bombs.
This week I rented an Elantra for a last minute trip to see the grandbaby. As I buckled up and started the engine of this modern seemingly winged chariot, I was amazed at its capabilities. Without my doing anything the radio display automatically linked with my IPhone. (Millennials, please stop laughing.) Not only did the car have complete knowledge of my music, my route, and could handle my incoming and outgoing calls, it talked to me! If a text came in, Siri’s sister would read it to me and ask me for my response. I could talk to her and she “understood”, well, ask me questions and respond accordingly. The revelations unfolded, one by one as the hours passed. Oh, it’s paired with my phone for music. My radio rings when someone calls??!! Nice, I can see the GPS on the radio display. What!! It reads texts to me, records my responses, and asks me if it’s okay to send??!! Not to mention that wherever I would park, my phone would report where my rental car was located.
My close-to-disbelief of such stealth capabilities may have approached early man’s wonder at the world outside of himself, and very much reminded me of my first reaction to seeing a television show, or even the first computer I used, or today when experiencing virtual reality. Our ancestors may not have struggled to believe there could exist a force outside of themselves for they lived closer to nature. It was more clear that much was unknowable, that the world was a bigger creation than their individual bodies. As we have moved to a clearly more mechanized and technologically sophisticated existence, so too, we have come to accept as normal the advancements that surround us, many of which we don’t understand and yet embrace, for some of us, with wonder. For those of us who believe in God, our view is similar to early man’s as we know that our part in co-creation is small and that what we “discover” are from Him. Even for those who are secular, new advances at least broaden expectations of what can be.
Assuming most of us have smart phones, it is possible for GPS to know where we are at every moment. So it is not so impossible to imagine Yeshua can know every hair on our heads. Siri and Alexa, clearly not human, talk to us and help us with our needs, just as we talk with God and our prayers are answered. Technological advances are accepted without understanding how they work, just as we can believe in an unknowable God. The larger discoveries once reserved to the scientific community and institutions are now part of our day-to-day existence, just as the enfleshment of HaShem through Yeshua brings Him intimately into our lives.
Although you and I most likely are blessed to know that God is real, statistics show that there are many more who do not have this belief. And yet anyone alive today is part of this modern world of daily evolving technological advances that are so sophisticated they must stretch most peoples’ imaginations. The ability to clap hands for lights to go on and off has been replaced by Alexa who resides in a growing number of households. At home and as we drive we are becoming acclimated to interacting with a force we cannot see. Perhaps the typical secular person’s sensibilities are being prepared to be more open to the possibility of the reality of God, and Yeshua’s Messiahship, for if GPS, Alexa, and Siri can do it, it is not beyond belief. Proof of the how or why is not needed to believe in the truth of these awe inspiring capabilities for they are realities. Sensibilities are being softened to receive without complete understanding. Mankind is being prepared for the opposite of “I’m from Missouri. Show me!” The ability to have faith is being nurtured by our Abba to bring His children to Him, one by one.
He meets us where we are.
“Elantra” comes from “elation” to suggest the vehicle’s ability to lift one’s spirits when driven. Well, my drive in the rental car lifted my spirits in more ways than one. My hope is that the spirits of many will be lifted as our capacities grow to stretch our belief systems of what is possible. As more are prepared, the day hastens His return.
Happy Hanukkah and Shabbat shalom.