Friday, December 10, 2004
Pastor Chuck Winter
In 1976 I was pastoring the Grace Brethren Church in Harrah. Tucked away in an unused upstairs classroom was my "ham shack." I had an amateur radio transmitter connected to a large cubical quad antenna on the church roof and I was trying to make my first long distance contact with medical missionary friends in Honduras. I had a tape recorder running to record this momentous event.
At the right time and on the right frequency I began calling Dr. Sam in Eastern Honduras. I could hear very faint voices. It was Dr. Sam speaking with friend Tink in North Carolina. Over the next 30 minutes I called him. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. With one last call I prepared to shut things down when I heard a faint, "Chuck, is that you? This is Sam."
The contact was established and over the next several years I would help carry medical traffic to and from Honduras using the airwaves in this enjoyable hobby. The tape recorder? It would show later that when I heard his voice, I leaped to my feet and danced a jig and shouted at the top of my lungs, "He heard me! He actually heard me!"
My walk with the Lord Jesus Christ began when I was 16 years of age. Through His word and through prayer He and I have been in contact ever since. The Bible tells us that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Distance is no problem, for He hears me when I speak or cry out. I'm instructed, encouraged, corrected and blessed by His word to me.
Through prayer we ask for help, give God adoration and thanks, intercede for others, and confess our sin. "Pray without ceasing" speaks of prayer as a continuous attitude of the heart (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Over and over in the Scriptures we are told to call upon God. We enter into His presence through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our mediator. Sometimes we call on Him in the day of trouble (Psalm 50:15) We are exhorted in Jeremiah 33:3 to Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
That tape recording of my first "DX" ham radio contact has disappeared. I have the pleasant memory of it. There's a far more satisfying record I have that's found in I John 5:14-15 - Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Communicating by ham radio can be difficult. Problems range from man-made and atmospheric interference to poor propagation, incorrect tuning and more. There are times when communication is impossible. With the advent of cell phones we have learned to play the little game called "Can you hear me now?"
This is never the case with the connection between heaven and earth, between God the Father and the child of God. That connection is crystal clear unless it is broken by sin. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Psalm 66:18) But then we need to go to God and "confess our sins" (I John 1:9) and forsake them and the fellowship is restored.
If you know Christ as Savior you understand the importance of prayer. If you've never invited Him into your heart and life then this Christmas season would be just right the right time to do so.
What a grand gift to give to the Lord.
- Chuck Winter, Associate Pastor of Senior Adult Ministries for Grace Brethren Church - Sunnyside