It was a battle which spanned many months and a battle in which I was determined to be victorious. It started with a series of irritating phone calls to our landline. The first of which was from a man claiming to be from BT informing me that “you have a problem with your internet connection, sir”. Now there was something clearly odd about this assertion. Firstly, BT wasn’t our internet provider and, secondly, we had no problems with our internet. Now I could have simply hung up the call but irritated by the intrusion into my day I decided to challenge. I asked the man his name, to which he replied; “David Parker”. It was the far-eastern accent with which ‘David Parker’ spoke that convinced me that the call was really an attempt to gain access to my computer. I called BT who confirmed that it was a bogus call and my resolve to win the battle was stiffened.
What followed over the proceeding months were a series of daily phone calls to our land line claiming a variety of fictitious issues. Each and every day I went into battle. I tried numerous different tactics from reasoning to shouting but none had the desired effect of stopping the calls from coming.
I was incensed by the daily intrusion and the unethical nature of the calls. Out of principle I felt I was right to fight the battle, but alas, I was not winning the war. The phone calls kept coming and the only fruit of my battles was a deepening frustration.
Then one morning I was working from home and the land line rang. I picked it up anticipating the characteristic 5 second pause before the voice on the other end spoke. I was right, there was silence, followed by a man asking to speak with me with the same heavy accent. The anger in me started to rise once more.
But I hadn’t anticipated what followed. The man said; “My name is David Parker, I am calling from the Ministry of Defence”. Brilliant. I had to laugh. Clearly, ‘David Parker’, of far-eastern decent, was no longer working for BT but the Ministry of Defence and was obviously keen to renew his acquaintance with me!
In that instant I was reminded of the larger story and that my multi-month battle was in fact a very small story in comparison. With a playful prod God had shown me that I had become consumed by a battle that simple wasn’t worth fighting. For there is a much larger story going on around us which we can either have a role within or ignore in pursuit of much smaller stories like the one I was living.
There is a larger story of good versus evil which is the back drop to all our lives. It is a story of a loving Father who sent His son to rescue us so that we could know Him intimately and be set free from all that we are held captive by. It is a story with an enemy whose mission is to thwart the plan of God to know us intimately.
It is also a story in which we are invited, nay commanded, to participate in. God does not act alone but honours us with the privilege of participating in this epic story. There is no limit to the role we can play, from making disciples (Matt 28:19), resisting the devil (John 4:7) or healing the sick and casting out demons (Matt 10:8). Whatever the specifics of our role might be, one thing is for sure…..God intends us to play a part in the larger story.
In the film Dead Poets Society there is a brilliant scene in which Robin Williams is trying to awaken the hearts of his pupils to the larger story around them. Awaken them to a world of beauty and love. He quotes a poem from Walt Whitman in which the poet struggles with the meaning of life but then concludes; “the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse”.
There is a “powerful play” unfolding around us and the only question is whether we chose to “contribute a verse” or live in a play of far less significance……whether that be fighting scam phone calls, keeping the house tidy or complaining about potholes in the road. But whilst we may be consumed by smaller stories the powerful play goes on.
What will your verse be?
Grid Ref is intended to help re-orientate men along the narrow path and are a mixture of personal testimonies and reflections from the A&D Team.