Who’s Listening?

I have smart things listening to me everywhere!

No, really I do, and, in what might be shocking news for some for you, I don’t really mind. I quite like the idea that all I have to do is say a ‘magic word’ and a smart thing will spring to life and answer my query or make stuff happen, like switching on my lights.

However, to live in such a connected world where my whims are attended to, I have to live with the fact that my world is being monitored. Devices all around my house, and indeed the smart thing that I carry around with me too, are forever listening, waiting to spring into action.

It doesn’t really stop at my home, or my smartphone either. Almost from the moment we step outside, we are also being watched. The UK is reportedly one of the most surveilled nations on the planet. An estimated 5.9 million CCTV cameras keep watch over our every move according to an article from the BBC, and that was an article published in 2015! Conspiracy theorists would also have us believe that our smartphones are being tracked by secret governmental departments. Maybe, they are, perhaps they’re not. But if they are, is there anything we can do about it? Can we disconnect from it all and ‘go dark’ as they say in the movies? The simple answer is we’d need to sacrifice a lot of modern conveniences to do so.

We don’t even need to go outside to be tracked. Merely searching for something on the internet can reveal a lot about us, even down to where we live and what we like to buy. Google is the most used search engine, and, like Hoover became the default word some use for vacuuming, Google has gone from also being just a brand to a verb. We’ll often hear it said that someone has Googled something when it would be more accurate to say they have merely searched the internet. Google, for many, has become the de facto way to access the internet (though plenty of other search engines do exist). In being this significant portal to our online world, Google has curated a massive database of information about the internet-connected human race.

If you were to give up Google and stop using many of its services, you would find that most of the internet would ‘go dark’ for you. A lot of apps that you use on your smart devices would, in some cases, stop working, others would be severely limited. Even some smart devices themselves would become mostly useless. Who among you has an Android-based phone in your pocket? Android is a Google created Operating System that is built into many things.

Amazon, the largest online store, the biggest store in the world really, is actually more than just the shop they are synonymous with. AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, and they have risen to become a massive player in cloud computing, database storage, content delivery and many other functions. If AWS went down completely, a sizeable chunk of the internet would go down with it.

What I’m trying to get at by offering up these examples of devices that are always listening, cameras that are always watching, and the many services that keep our modern interconnected lives running, is that most of us just accept it. We don’t mind them listening, watching, and serving our needs, even though a good majority of us wouldn’t have a clue how it all works. However, when it comes to God, who is all-powerful, always listening and came to serve and to save us, some people seem to have an issue with the very idea of the divine.

All the companies I’ve mentioned, I don’t believe, are inherently evil, but they are companies that exist to make a profit. They grease the wheels of capitalism, and so the world turns.

But God doesn’t care about profit, He doesn’t want to squeeze every last penny out of you. He is always watching and always listening because He wants a real relationship with us. God waits patiently for all sorts of wake words (not that He’s ever asleep), and He will always respond. He’ll never timeout or lose connection unless you disconnect yourself.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me.”

In what are you truly putting your trust? Most of us will say that we don’t trust major companies, that we understand it’s not about us, it’s about their bottom line, but still, our actions show that we trust in what they can do for us more than we like to admit.

In God, we can trust, entirely and without question. He tells us not to be obsessed with money but to live content with what we have and that He will never leave us alone, never! Google might know a lot about a lot of people, but the Bible tells us that God knows all of us down to the last detail, even to the number of hairs on our heads.

I am comfortable knowing that a loving, Heavenly Father, is always watching and always listening. I am happy that He knows my innermost thoughts. I am joyful knowing is that He is with me, all the days of my life.

Companies will come and go, anyone remember MySpace or the once-mighty Nokia?

I’d rather put my trust in something more, indeed someone eternal, someone who has my best interests at heart. What about you?

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