Over the last week or so, I had the awesome privilege of literally unplugging, grabbing some suitcases, hopping on an Amtrak (California Zephyr) for a first-class family trip to Grand Junction, Colorado, and spending three days touring southwestern Colorado in a rented van.
We had a once-in-a-lifetime experience: I got away from my computer for a while; spent some quality time and conversation with my wife, daughters, and in-laws; and enjoyed God’s amazing handiwork manifested in ice-capped mountaintops, plunging canyons, raging rivers, and the stunning genius of His creation.
I’ll never forget it.
The train was amazing. We ate steak in the dining car (completely spoiled!) and even had a family bedroom (it was tiny but workable). One feature that made the train trip especially memorable was the sightseeing car.
This car featured lots of oversize windows (even on the ceiling) and comfy seats facing the windows to afford the most spectacular views possible. I’ll never forget camping out there with some coffee while the Colorado mountains, canyons, and rivers literally rolled by right before my eyes.
Granted, the views from Chicago to Denver weren’t so spectacular, and I got some much-longed-for time for pleasure reading (click left to see what I read). But after Denver, oh my! The terrain changed completely, and I put my Kindle away (mostly) to take in the sights and just meditate on the wonderful opportunity to be here and on what God wanted to show me.
But as I glanced around the sightseeing car, I was surprised. So many folks were glued to their smartphones and iPods while heart-dropping canyons rolled by right before their eyes. My wife, in-laws, and I chuckled over this. Why pay good money to ride on a train like this with such glorious views and keep your nose buried in an electronic device?
It’s like . . . um, hello . . . yep, that’s a snow-capped mountain staring you down. Are you going to look up and acknowledge its presence? Put that silly gadget away and listen to what that mountain wants to tell you, for crying out loud!
But then I realized I shouldn’t be so judgmental; I had a connection obsession too. This computer I’m typing on now has stolen so much of my time and attention—so much of my life. Granted, I do my day job on this “confuser” (as my father-in-law calls it), and I have to use it to provide for me and my family.
But how many extra minutes and hours of life do I while away on it? Just because I have to check one more e-mail or follow one more link someone emailed me or check out the latest viral video on YouTube?
It’s like . . . um, hello . . . you have living, breathing people around you who want to connect. Are you spending more time connecting to videos, music, and online buddies than with those who matter most?
Then it hit me. A connection obsession isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of all connections in my life, I should be plugged in to God most of all. But how often am I more connected to other things?
Ouch. Convicting questions, aren’t they?
What did this trip teach me? Sometimes we just need to turn the gadgets off and listen to the silence and to what the Master of the universe wants to tell us. What is He saying?
Look at this amazing playground I made for you. Do you see Me in the design? Do you realize that if I made such a beautiful place that I have even grander plans for you?
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
What about you? Maybe like me you sometimes feel like you can’t hear God’s voice. Maybe He’s talking, but we’re not listening. Could it be that we’re too connected to other things to hear what He’s saying?
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