“God speaks in many ways, but we don’t always recognize His voice." ~ Job 33:14
“Shhh! It’s about to start,” Grampa announced fiddling with the antenna.
It would oddly be called the Golden Age of Radio. Odd because part of this period started during the Great Depression when people were doing without most luxuries, and even many necessities.
But after the initial purchase radio was free, providing a cheap source of entertainment that replaced more costly pastimes such as the movies. Even though people couldn't afford payments on their washing machines, vacuum cleaners, or Model A Fords, they desperately struggled to keep up payments on their radios.
They weren't just small devices in plastic cases. Radios were built into large wooden cases that served as elaborate pieces of furniture. The size was due mostly to various large vacuum tubes in the circuitry.
The Golden Age was more than storytelling; even more than today’s audiobook. They were movies that played on the biggest screen of all … our imaginations!
Grampa loved that radio. It was the only object in his home he felt an emotional attachment to. It never demanded his attention but instead sat quiet and unassuming until called upon.
His family would gather around its bulky frame and fill in the story’s blanks with images in their own heads, much as if they were reading. Sound-effects artists who’d been laid off with the advent of “talkies” found new jobs providing radio sounds that would guide the creation of those images.
Despite its popularity, radio still had many kinks to be worked out. Tuning the station to its correct frequency was a constant chore. So Grampa would stand near the radio adjusting the antenna with as much clarity as he could finesse, then gingerly letting go only to have the static return with frustrating obscurity.
Grampa worked feverishly to keep the program “tuned in” so as not to distract or disengage the family’s entertainment. But it was so worth it – like spending time with an old friend.
Now that radio sits idle beside my bed (vacuum tubes are nearly impossible to find these days). I play the greatest hits from my own golden years on my new-fangled Smartphone and pretend to ‘tune in’ Grampa’s old radio to the airwaves of yesteryear.
Today a different kind of static clouds and jumbles our hearts and minds – the static of busyness, societal pressures, cheap advice, self-absorption, and (anti)social media. We’re often so busy and the world so loud that it’s difficult to hear God’s voice, especially since He often speaks in tones that are still and small.
Some Christians even live their lives on “airplane mode” completely tuning out the messages God sends to us continuously throughout the day. We have a direct link to the Throne of Grace — no antenna required. He’s always speaking to us … but are we tuned-in to His message?
Father, bless me with a seeking heart. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see the ways You’re speaking to me. Help me recognize the difference between Your voice and my thoughts. Amen