Archive for July 2009
While sitting in the hospital room with my wife on Sunday morning as she was recovering from surgery, I asked her a deep and personal question. She wanted me to help her with her latest blog entry as she dictated it so I recorded it on my laptop computer. When she finished it, I asked her how she knew that the Lord loved her.
She didn’t answer me right away but thought about it until this morning after we returned from a follow-up doctor’s visit. She then shared some things that were unmistakable evidence to her of God’s love for her. It was a sacred and emotional moment that helped me to know I am not alone in seeing God’s hand in our lives.
Looking beyond the battle
Carol is going through a difficult time right now and it took a lot for her to share those touching personal evidences. Dealing with her cancer is taking a lot of her energy and sometimes causes her to see only the immediate battle instead of the big picture. I asked her to take a minute to look beyond the battle and she did.
While we were waiting for the doctors to discharge her yesterday, I shared with her some of the things that are evidence to me that God knows and loves me. As I held her hand and recounted evidences from my youth of answered prayers, I felt that we don’t pause often enough to realize how the Lord shows each of us his love.
Praying over our flocks
There are so many times in my daily work that I am confronted with situations that tax my technical capabilities. It can be tough being the only computer dude in a small to medium sized business. You are expected to be the expert on a myriad number of software and hardware products. That’s just what an IT Manager does.
Little do my co-workers realize that there is no way that one person can know the answer to every question about all those hundreds of technology products that we use in our business. I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for help from my Heavenly Father to be able to respond to yet another difficult tech question.
A not-so-typical problem
Let me give you an example from a recent experience that proved to me that the Lord knew what I was going through. For several weeks a certain employee had been calling and complaining that emails were not getting through to her from a very important client. We looked at everything trying to figure out the problem.
Finally, this employee laid down the law and said that this problem had to be fixed now! I re-inspected all the filters through which our email passes and could find nothing wrong. As I was reporting back via email, I decided to document the steps I had taken by including screen-prints of each filter and the corresponding settings.
A quiet whispered impression
Just before I was about to hit the send button, which in essence was admitting defeat, something impressed me to take one more look at the screen-prints I had included. As I reviewed each line very closely, I noticed something so simple that I laughed out loud and then started to shout in joyous exultation. I had found it!
My wife looked over at me and wondered why her normally so serious husband was shouting, “I’ve got you!” and doing a little happy dance. I reminded her of the problem I had been dealing with for so long and told her that I had finally found the solution. It was an exciting moment and one in which I felt profound relief.
The Lord stretches us
The problem was that the client had misspelled the employee’s name in her email address. What compounded it was that she only did it occasionally and usually on the really urgent emails. It was only when I had a screen-print in front of me with several copies of the incoming emails that I saw the simple yet terminal problem.
After I pointed the problem out to the employee with perhaps too much enjoyment, and everyone was happy again, I reflected back on how simple the problem really was. Why hadn’t I seen it before? I believe it was because the Lord wanted me to get to the point where I was about to admit defeat before he stepped in to help me.
Tender mercies of the Lord
I had done everything I knew how to do to resolve the problem. I was convinced that it was what we call in the industry a false positive, or a piece of email being blocked in the spam filter because it met the criteria of the complex spam rules. But it wasn’t a filter problem. It just didn’t know where to deliver the email.
The Lord knows how much I hate to admit defeat. I am a problem-solver by nature and thrive on resolving deep and complex technical issues. That’s what makes my job enjoyable. It is evidence to me that God loves me because he reached out and rescued me from having to admit defeat by prompting me to take that one last look.
The small and simple things
Now you may say that this was all just a big coincidence and that God had nothing to do with helping me to resolve the problem. You may even say that I must not be very smart to have not seen right away that an email address had been misspelled. But I can tell you that several of us had already looked at those screens for weeks.
This is not the only time the Lord has helped me in my work. I could probably fill a dozen essays with example after example of how the Lord inspired me or blessed me to be able to do something that was beyond my natural ability. I have studied and have worked in tech support my entire career but I have rarely done it alone.
Beyond my natural abilities
Success in my career is important to me. It helps me to fulfill the commandment of the Lord to provide for my family. Because the Lord gave me this responsibility and commandment, I feel that I have the right to call upon him to bless me in my work so that I can be successful. It’s like we are in a sacred partnership together.
I have not always seen the hand of the Lord in my work. Sometimes I have made rather foolish mistakes and wonder why they happened to me. I look back and realize that I had been trying to do it on my own or not giving the Lord credit for helping me. I always perform beyond my natural abilities when I ask God for help.
The Lord chastens us
The same thing applies to my spiritual life. I have seen the hand of the Lord in my spiritual growth and development numerous times – too many to enumerate. But I have not always acknowledged his kindness in helping me. That’s when I struggle and wonder why I feel like I’m going through my life’s experiences all by myself.
It is only when I stop and think that I realize how truly blessed I am and how much the Lord must really love me. The scripture says that the Lord chastens those who he loves. If our chastening experiences are any indication then we must be some of the Lord’s chosen. Now if I only knew for what purpose we are being chosen.
Preparing for eternity
I suppose I already know the answer. Just as it is easy to overlook the hand of the lord in my work, thinking that something so mundane as computer tech support can’t be of any interest to the Lord, it is just as easy to overlook the tender mercies of the Lord in our lives as we pass through this episode of cancer in Carol’s body.
I love Carol and I will love her forever. I chose her to be my companion not only for this life but forever. I am convinced that we will pass through this cancer scare successfully. I believe that the doctors caught it early enough that it will not be a problem once it is removed in the surgery next week. That in itself is a miracle.
Summary and conclusion
It is easy to think that God doesn’t love us or isn’t interested in our mundane lives. But if we stop and take the time to think about it, God is very involved in what we do each day. We just have to look for ways that mean something special to us. In my example, it was a subtle impression to inspect a screen-print just a little closer.
In Carol’s case, it is being able to fall asleep after a prayer in spite of tremendous pain, or wondering why you’re not stepping on the gas when the light turns green and then watching someone run a red light in front of you. What about you? How does the Lord demonstrate to you that he loves you and is involved in your life?