Rebecca is one our writers at Open Doors – here she shares her experience of taking part in Blackout, our sponsored, digital fast for persecuted Christians. Have a read and get inspired to take part in the upcoming Blackout weekend and give up your phone for a whole 48 hours!
“It’s supposed to hurt.”
So said my mum with a smile when I bemoaned the fact that TV was included on the list for Blackout. She’s right. Blackout is supposed to be a challenge; it’s no good asking people to sponsor you for something you could do in your sleep!
I’ve had periods where I’ve deliberately cut out scrolling through Facebook before, but to be without my phone completely? To be without that seconds-away contact from friends? That was something I’d not done for a long time. And what I noticed the most was how much I noticed its absence.
“I’ll just Google that – oh.”
“Let me show you on YouTube – wait.”
I wish I could say I felt really at peace all weekend without my phone, but I can’t. I spent the weekend agitated, my fingers itching for something I couldn’t have. It was incredibly frustrating!
“It’s supposed to hurt.”
Reading the stories of those who are persecuted, and then praying for them – really taking the time to sit down and think about them and pray for them – put things in perspective. And it made me want to bang on the doors of heaven and shout, “This isn’t fair! This isn’t supposed to hurt! Why does this hurt? Why does this hurt children and churches, and brothers and sisters in Christ?”
What hurts you, hurts me.
We are one body, united in Christ. When we are disconnected from each other, both physically and spiritually, we become numb to one another’s hurts and joys. But when we do connect – when we really sit and reflect and allow ourselves to feel pain and really pray – that’s when we feel for each other. That’s when we’re able to live out Paul’s words: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. It’s a sensation not unlike pins and needles. Pins and needles tells us that our blood supply has been cut off from a part of our body. It’s so important to keep up the connection, to keep up the supply of prayer.
My desperation to connect with others again was not fulfilled by my phone.
When I finally got my hands back on my phone, there was a sense of deflation. Almost like it didn’t live up to my expectations. It didn’t satisfy; it didn’t fill me like I had imagined it would all weekend. My desperation to connect with others again was not fulfilled by my phone. Which hints that this weekend I found myself as part of something much, much bigger.
I may have been going it alone this time around, but I know that I wasn’t alone in my prayers. When we pray together, no matter where we are, it transforms us into a community, tuning in on the same frequency, tuning in to the same Broadcaster. A God who hears our prayers. No matter where we find ourselves, we are one body, one Church, united in prayer, united in Christ.
“The church is filled with Christ, and Christ fills everything in every way.”