«When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them» (Psalm 91:15).
One radio, one battery. Those were the four words I heard the war veterans who came to my town say when they remembered the date of the beginning of a war that had taken so many young lives.
Those veterans, wearing their hearts on their sleeves, told the stories that returned to their dreams night after night. I tirelessly wrote down what they were saying in a little notebook; they told a story I knew very little of.
Their gaze seemed lost and their hands were calloused, but I found them to be neighbors through their warm greeting, and as I heard them I learned a story of hope.
When they were in the trenches, far from home, on freezing nights for which they were unprepared, they tried to think of their homes and longed to hear the news. Radio transmission was not as simple in those latitudes, but somehow a foreign radio wave kept them a slightly connected with reality.
The problem was that the equipment they used required batteries and it was a luxury they couldn’t all afford. One radio and one battery were all that was needed to gather a bit of strength and hope, to listen to voices in a familiar language for five minutes daily.
I once read the story of a dying man who was talking to a religious man visiting him. The religious man recommended that he place a chair beside his bed, and imagine Jesus was sitting there, keeping him company during his illness. The sick man accepted the suggestion, had a chair placed there and, from outside his room, his daughter could hear him having dialogues several times a day which, to foreign ears, sounded like an incomprehensible monologue.
One day, when they went to his room, they found he was dead, but his hand was extended toward the chair. The man, as well as the soldiers, had grabbed hold of the hope an object represented.
Although we don’t believe in using good luck charms, today we can think of prayer as an undying battery.
In order to connect with essential hope, we don’t need batteries, or chairs, or lucky charms. Let’s cling to our friend Jesus. It’s enough to just bend our knees, or simply close our eyes, to find that vital connection.
May His voice be as precious and familiar as that radio transmission.