Life throws its curves. Sometimes I respond fairly well. Other times, not so much. Sometimes I start out great! Later, I crater in tears. I’ve been hanging out in the latter camp–displaced and distressed.
Our area has had A LOT of much-needed rain in the last several weeks. Over a week ago, a series of powerful storms came through–taking my hard drive and over 500GB of data with it–pictures, home videos, and all of my writing. Fortunately, we have a backup system in place.
Although disappointed, I was still OK. After all, I had my iPhone and my iPad. I was not disconnected from my virtual world. Operating in these conditions was not ideal nor convenient, but it was workable. My heart and mind were totally satisfied, even if it was going to take a week to recover my data.
My husband installed the new hard drive and began the recovery process.
He had to restart it five times–once due to another power surge. Ugh. I was doing fine with the temporary loss–knowing that, eventually, all would be back to normal. But stopping and restarting the recovery took its toll on this 50-year-old, emotional, hot-flashing mama. After one particular stop and restart (it looked as though the recovery drive had failed), I knew I had to leave the house before I melted into a puddle of tears. I had to … get … out. Find a change of scenery. Get my mind on something completely different. Drying my sniffles, I grabbed my daughters and took them shoe shopping. (Yes, they did need new shoes! And the outing was already on the schedule!) By the time we got back, the recovery was back on track. Supposedly, to complete 14 hours and 10 minutes later. (By the way, this was not the last restart!)
My displacement had me upended, out of sorts, and unable to follow through. I started things, but didn’t finish. Without my desk, some important things didn’t get attention at all. I needed the routine that my desk–my place–gave me.
Finally, I asked myself, What’s the real deal here? How does God make a difference in this? This temporary loss of data.
I wish I could compare my distress to suffering. Paul says, “our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17). True, God uses all the trouble we face to sand off character that doesn’t look like Him.
Here are a few suggestions that helped me get through this crisis.
A Perspective Check
Especially when I recall the second image of beautiful souls being marched to their deaths at the edge of the sea. I wonder what was going through their hearts and minds. Were they feeling displaced and distressed? Certainly. But I think they must have felt that soon they would be home. Really home. This world was not their home. It’s not ours either.
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. (1 Peter 2:11 MSG)
What about those who are truly displaced and devastated by a massive earthquake. Those who are distressed by the real possibility of a full volcanic eruption. Those who are enduring painful illness, unspeakable loss, heartbroken over their children.
Our culture is absorbed with convenience and self-satisfaction. Right now I’m sitting outside in my beautiful backyard, listening to jazz. The announcer just reminded her listeners that it’s “Jazz Appreciation Month.” Indeed, jazz is lovely–and very relaxing. Music is a gift from the Lord, and I’m thankful He allows me to enjoy it. It has helped stem my distress.
The inconvenience of being displaced from my space, the distress of restoring data over and over, is, at its worst, only frustrating.
I know the Lord cares about my cares, even though, in the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)
A friend reminded me that the most important thing to do in this, and any, situation–is to pray. Indeed, the Lord does care about my cares, but I had not given this care to Him. Not once did I even think about it. I just knew everything would be OK. My husband is awwwe-some with all things technical. With Tim and time … what else did I need?
Obviously, I needed some lesson-learning.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This is God’s will for me. And so I will give thanks.
I am thankful for … a husband who is technically savvy and able to fix this for me; for his willing heart to actually do this with all of the patience it requires; the backup data we have stored; and other ways for me to stay connected!
Trust God With the Results
This disruption caused me to reevaluate my heart’s response to my own trouble.
I wonder how I would have responded to the repeated restarts, had I started right from the beginning. I’m not so sure there would have been fewer restarts. But I think I would have been less frustrated. Maybe I wouldn’t have cratered. Maybe I would have been more patient.
On these and future days when I feel displaced and distressed, I want my heart to lean into the Lord. To give him my cares from the very beginning. And trust Him with the results.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)