Friday, October 29, 2010

DEVOTION: Cyber Visitors - Shirley M. Corder

         A few months ago, I launched a new website especially to "inspire and encourage those living under the shadow of cancer".

          In order to have an idea of how many people visited the site, I added the same widget that we use on this site. It shows a small spinning world globe. Every time someone visits for the first time, a red dot appears on the world to pinpoint their location.
          The first dot to appear on my globe was of course at my own location, in Port Elizabeth in South Africa. Within an hour of launching, I had a second dot—further up in South Africa. That would be my writing friend, Ruth Ann Dell, also a cancer survivor and a writer for this blog. Then a red dot appeared in far-off Japan. That would be Wendy, one of my critique partners.
          Two dots in America showed that my other crit partners, Yvonne and Geneva, had paid the new site a visit. I smiled as I saw a bright red dot beam out from Eurasia, from the Muslim country of Kazakhstan. My daughter had visited from that land and hopefully the family as well. My friend in England, Elaine, left her mark, shortly joined by other friends from many years ago, Beryl and Mervyn in Scotland.
          Dots began to appear all over the globe and I soon could no longer identify the people who had left them. Yes, my site was gaining momentum. Yet we were linked together. They had visited me and read at least something on my new website. Were they fellow cancer survivors? Or were they struggling with the effects of the drastic treatment? I guessed that some of them were friends or family of those who suffered from the disease. I hoped that some were left by medical people who cared for cancer patients. I prayed that whatever their reason for visiting, they received inspiration and encouragement.
          Then I found another widget, ideal for my already well-established writers' website,, which already had a world map full of blue dots. This new widget caused a tiny flag to appear for each country represented by first time visitors to the site from the moment I put it onto the sidebar. Once again I enjoyed the same experience.
          As soon as the flag counter went up, a South African flag represented my presence on the site. Within hours, the South African count went up, and an American flag appeared that showed a growing number of visitors. Within a few days, an Australian flag was left, probably by Mary Hawkins, an author who also writes for this blog, and her husband Ray, who writes devotions for us. Then the flag of Mozambique appeared. That would be Lisa Harris, author and co-moderator for my online group for South African Christian writers, and one of the leaders of this blog.
          I soon gained flags from various locations in America, Kazakhstan, Japan, Australia, and I enjoyed trying to imagine who was visiting my site at these locations. Then new, intriguing flags appeared. Sometimes I knew people who lived in the new country but other times I had no idea who they were. Thailand. Who do I know in Thailand? Turkey? Norway? Saudi Arabia? People I knew nothing about started to visit my writers' site.
          I discovered that by clicking on the flag counter, I am able to call up statistics which give me more precise details. I learned that 23 different countries had visited my site in less than a month. One day I stared in amazement. I'd had a visitor from an "Unknown Satelite". Could this be true? Had my website been visited by someone from Outer Space? Visions of space craft inhabited by aliens sprang to mind. Would my next visitor be from another planet? Or from a space station? Of course, I understand it is actually from a satellite provider—but surely one can dream? Especially a writer.
          Then it occurred to me. There is One who visits both my websites all the time. He sees every word I put up there. What's more, He knows the reasons behind what I've written, and He reads the thoughts and motives for each thing I write. I can only guess at those who visit the sites. Yet God knows every one of them. He knows their needs, their joys and their heartaches. What an amazing honour. I am a representative of the One True God. People who have no faith in Him, may come to one of my sites because they are writers or because they have cancer. Whatever the reason, by visiting my site, they are coming into the presence of God. Or so I pray.
          Ever since I had that visitor from the unknown satellite, I have prayed regularly for my cyber visitors. I pray—that they, you, will be blessed by the One who visits every website put up in His Name, and reads ever word we write. He visits my sites, and He visits yours. He visits this site, and He reads our books and articles.

Will you join me as we pray together for our cyber visitors?

Lord, as writers we pray You will help us to write words that will draw others to Yourself. Whether they visit our websites or blogs, or read our work elsewhere; whether they come from Denmark, Honolulu, Uzbekistan, Jamaica, Mongolia, or even Outer Space, may they be blessed. May they come to know the One True God who can meet their every need. Lord, we commit our websites, blogs and writing to You—In Jesus' Name. Amen.  

Shirley Corder is an author, an RN, and a cancer survivor. She loves the opportunity to entertain cyber visitors from across the world and even from outer space as long as she doesn't need to bake. Please visit her at either her writers website, or at Rise and Soar, the site to encourage and inspire those in the shadow of cancer. Link with her through Twitter or FaceBook.

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