We lived in Haiti in 1986 when the country exploded with riots and demonstrations that culminated in the departure of Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. When the unrest began, the government blocked CNN television and destroyed radio stations that dared broadcast news about the turmoil. At that time there was no internet, text messaging, or reliable phone service. We had no way of knowing if the rumors we heard were true or not. Our only source of truth was the Voice of America short-wave radio transmission.
As in VOA commercials that appeared during the Cold War, we huddled around our short-wave radio to hear the TRUTH about what was really happening in Haiti. At 7:00 p.m. we strained to hear the music of Yankee Doodle that announced the start of the English version of the news. We trusted VOA to bring us the Truth without the distortion of opinion or pressure from governments or outside sources.
Finding VOA, however, was very difficult on our small, short-antennaed radio. Amidst the shrill and hiss and sounds of multiple languages, I would move the dial in hair-line increments to catch the first strains of Yankee Doodle and hope I could connect with the station before the news began. To make it easier to find, I marked the dial with a thin line of red nail polish. Even though the sound of the news sometimes roared in and out like the tide, we listened intently because the truth we heard on VOA often determined our travel and activity schedule for the next day.
Today, we live in a world where truth in broadcasting is hard to find. Politics, advertisers, governments, cultural pressure and personal opinion shape the news. Tragically, these elements are also shaping the message of the Church. There is only one source of Truth and that is the Voice of God through the Word. The Voice of God will not be found through a casual scanning of your Bible. Tuning into the Voice of God requires effort to tune out the hissing and shrilling voices of surrounding messages. It requires focusing, looking intently into the Word and then ordering our activities according to the Truth that we find.
Jesus prayed, “I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth.” (John 17:15-17 MSG)
Martha Hawn VanCise©2015 www.signpostsonhightrails.com