It’s not mere coincidence, but providence, how God gives us interactions and experiences to allow us to gain perspective on what we’re going through. He teaches us, as a good father does, and never leaves us out to dry if our hearts are open enough to keep an eye out for when he speaks. Here is how God has done this for me today:
I work in the library at a desk that tries to help people when they have problems with various things pertaining to technology. There was a gentleman who looked to be about 65 or so who walked up to the desk and said, “Come with me and look at my machine.” I replied, “yes sir,” and followed the waddling man with ash colored hair in the wake of his unique odor of an old jacket that has been in the attic for several years. He lead me to the station with a computer used for scanning documents.
“This machine here,” he said as he pointed with a lazily outstretched finger, “is broken.”
I had already seen from a distance as we were approaching the computer that it was in the middle of the Windows loading screen. Because most of our machines run with the bare minimum hardware required for operation, they are known to take their time (painfully on our behalf) with such tasks as loading the operating system.
“It seems to be working fine, if we can just give it a minute to–”
“I don’t want ‘Windows,’ I just want the the scanning screen,” he shot out as if he hadn’t heard a word I said.
Uhhhhh, I thought to myself. How to explain this…
“The program that you want to use is run through Windows… so Windows will have to–”
“No no no, you see there was another person on this computer before me and they were using Windows. I don’t want Windows, I want to use the Library screen. I’m familiar with the Library screen.”
Frustration began bubble and boil as our conversation seemed to get no where. How could I explain to this man that Windows was the operating system, the platform, and the “Library Screen” was the desktop once Windows had loaded? Various approaches to teach this man the (super) basics of computer usage lead to to the climax of his frustration whereby his hands were thrown into the air while exclaiming, “bah! I’ll just find another machine.”
How often has our attitude been like this toward God? Thinking that a machine is broken just because our ignorance prevents our understanding of the machine?
God, why is this happening to me? Why the hell am I in this situation…
I find myself asking for the “Library” screen quite a bit with God; things are nice when we have what we’re comfortable and familiar with, but when it’s replaced with something else…
This machine is broken, I often say out loud.
What does this stem from? Observing the man, I’d say that most of his frustration and anger that gave him the conclusion that the machine was “broken” came first from his lack of patience. Had he waited about two more minutes, the operating screen would have loaded, and he would have been right where he was comfortable. But he couldn’t, he quit. He had no perseverance, if that’s what you’d call the ability of waiting two minutes for a screen to load.
The second reason why he quit was because he wasn’t open to learning. Be it pride in his vast computer knowledge (sarcasm), or just his comfortableness in ignorance, he was closed off to any hope of understanding how a computer worked properly. My attempts at gently educating him were useless for him while his heart and mind were in this condition.
What do I understand better because of this experience and what do I hope to testify on behalf of for you?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God is sovereign over everything in existence and he has a plan. Plans have order to them. I’m not claiming to know what God’s plans are for you, but I’m seeing that there are general rules of thumb.
- Don’t expect the “library screen” to appear before Windows boots up.
- Don’t expect a Godly relationship with your future spouse before you really understand and enter a relationship with God himself.
- Don’t expect to be the pastor of a mega church before you can lead and shepard one person that God has put in your life.
- Don’t expect to get “a hold of” God when you’re in a bind, before you understand how to be in constant communion with Him.
Don’t expect to run before you can walk, is the format. Apply it as you (understand and) see fit.
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation and not familiar with how to deal with it, don’t stress out too much. It’s easy to assume that the situation is all fouled up, but if you can be open to understanding as you “seek God with all your heart”, your frustration may simmer with learning the order in the plans that God has for you.
Don’t quit. The machine ain’t broken. Keep running.