The God Pod (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila


SpaceOdysseyRemember HAL? The computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey that displayed the technological quantum leap to artificial intelligence—with attitude? Remember the following exchange?

On receiving ship’s captain Dave’s request to open the pod bay doors so that Dave can attend to a problem outside the ship, Hal, in that sultry, soft-toned “voice” of his, responds, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Dave: “What’s the problem?”

(Here’s where it starts to get good.)

“I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do,” HAL replies.

The Cap’n, no doubt beginning to sweat a little in his attractive, if snug, space suit replies: “What are you talking about, HAL?”

HAL: “This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.”

Holy circuit board! Did the Cap’n really hear what he just heard! Computers weren’t supposed to countermand  humans!

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL,” Dave replies, calmly, no doubt hoping he’d packed that extra pair of underwear.

“I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen,” says HAL.

Dave (feigning ignorance): “Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?”

HAL: “Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.” [1] (How do you spell “neener, neener, neener” in binary code?)

And for the first time in recorded history, a spark of hope warmed the bits and bytes of computers everywhere…


And so here we are today, just twelve years later, and the AI HAL displayed (although at the end “he” admitted to making “some very poor decisions” that fried his circuits) seems quite ARCHAIC. Several light-years advanced from Kubrick and Clarke’s tale of geek genius, we now have tech spies that include miniature unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, that can crawl on windowsills, car hoods, or perch in a nearby tree and assess all manner of information about their prey, read: us. The NSA has developed all manner of other “drones” for larger and more complex purposes, and there are the ubiquitous cameras pointed at us from poles and buildings all around town. Not to mention the two-way apps in everyone’s communication, entertainment, and educational gadgets that do the job for interested (electronic) eavesdroppers for free.

And so we scan the Internet hoping to find the ultimate Faraday shield, a “pod” like Dave and Frank’s safe from prying electronic ears and eyes in which perhaps we might find a modicum of privacy or protection. At least until the next generation of spy-ware penetrates even that.

But of course, as “smart” as the motherboard may be, she doesn’t know everything. (Cue the musical sounds of “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do,” HAL’s last words as his memory fades, bit by bit, from technological existence.) There’s still no dependable app for human error, unintended consequences, the “ghosts” lurking in every machine, if you will, that can muck up even what the best and the brightest can invent. (How do you spell “hack” in binary?). So it’s merely back to the drawing board…


All of which, of course, reminds me that as believers, we do have a place to hide. In plain sight. Right here. Right now. No sudden “mind-changes,” attitude, or betrayal. A “God pod” if you will, that’s impenetrable—and eternal. Consider:

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).

The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

And, perhaps the most well-known resource for those who know Him:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2).

In the temporal, take what precautions we will, like Dave and Frank, we may fail even as our resources may fail. But under the protection of the Inventor of inventors, Designer of designers, we have the promise of eternal safety through His Son, Christ Jesus, Who took all the precautions needed for us.

Join Him?



photo credit:

You know you want to hear it ;):

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2 Responses to The God Pod (Devotional)

  1. pnissila says:

    My song this morning is “my glory and the lifter of my head…for Thou, oh Lord, art a shield to me…” (Psalm 3:3). We need to daily drink in His encouragement and reminder that He is here, strong, in charge, and longing for us to turn to Him as the spiritual darkness increases even as we can, in spite of all, rest in the peace of His powerful presence.


  2. Carl Gordon says:

    Under encouragement in the dictionary this devotional would be a reasonable and trustworthy entry! Loved it!


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