Friday, May 27, 2011

DEVOTION: Instant Messaging - Shirley Corder

A loud "ping" sounded from my computer speakers. I blinked back tears of longing as a small notice appeared on my monitor. "Hello? You there?"

My daughter was online. She lives on a mission field on the other side of the world. I am in South Africa, but her computer and my computer were linked. I only had to respond.

For the next fifteen minutes, we typed furiously, laughed at each other's comments, and enjoyed each other's company despite the many miles that separated us. This was way before 2003, when Skype arrived on the scene. Neither of us had webcams in those days, so we couldn't see each other. Debbie's bandwidth link was extremely slow, so speaking was frustrating or even impossible. All we could do was type. But I cannot describe the rare joy of being able to communicate in real time with one another.

In ways I cannot begin to understand, the moment I hit enter on my keyboard in South Africa, my daughter in Venezuela could read the words I had just typed. I couldn't communicate with her if she was away from her computer, and vice versa. We had to both be online at the same time.

I see this as true of my writing. I don't need to understand the entire publishing process to make a connection with my readers. But if they put down the book, I will not be able to communicate with them any more. If I have a message for them, or a story to tell them, (and if I haven't, I shouldn't be writing) we have to both be there at the same time. I am there through my article or book. But are they still reading? My job as a writer is to communicate in such a way they want to keep coming back.

Instant messaging is also like prayer. God is on one end of the communication, and I am on the other. Sometimes I fail to connect, and the messages cease to flow. But God is always online, waiting for me to return. I have no idea how prayer works, but I don't need to. I only need to make the connection.

Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. Isaiah 65:24 (TEV)

SHIRLEY M. CORDER lives in South Africa and Instant Messaging keeps her in touch with her writing world. Her book, Rise and Soar above the Cancer Valley is due for release in the USA in 2012, and she is contributing author to seven other books. Hundreds of her inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published internationally. You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her Rise and Soar cancer site, or follow her on Twitter.


  1. I love these thoughts, Shirley and I love Skype too to contact friends on the otherside of the world!

  2. Thanks Mary. Only today I chatted to Debbie who is now in Kazakhstan. Isn't it incredible? Her daughter, our eldest grandchild, is about to go to America to study and my main prayer concern is not the mileage separating us, but "Will she have Skype?" LOL!

  3. Recently, I visited a friend who is immobilized with a broken pelvis. Her husband had to on the other side of the country. While I was visiting, he called her via Skype. Her joy when she saw his face and heard his voice touched me deeply. There really is nothing like face-to-face, even if that face is thousands of miles away.

  4. What a beautiful reminder that God is always "online" for us. Puts new teeth into Brother Lawrence's practicing the presence of God.

  5. Thanks Alice, that face-to-face meeting is so much better than an email, nice though those are!

    Thanks for your thoughts, Judith - and for your follow-up email.