I woke up after a very long sleep. I had just finished doing the 30 Hour Famine with our youth the day before and had gone to bed early on Saturday with full hope of a night’s restful sleep. I felt rested and all was well. In the kitchen I set the coffee pot to go and walked into my office to boot up my computer. I still hadn’t printed my sermon out – even though it was ready a few days prior. After listening to the familiar beep and whine of the fans signaling a normal boot had begun I walked back into the kitchen and poured my hot coffee. It was time to pray, read my Bible and print my sermon. Back to the office I returned and I realized I had made a dreadful mistake.
Four days earlier I had set up the computer to do a full file system and disk surface check using
chkdsk /v /r. My run for coffee had made me miss the prompt to skip the check. My computer would be tied up for the next four hours before I could ever print. My sermon would not be printed. It’s the stuff of nightmares but I was already awake.
I am a manuscript preacher. I always carry a manuscript into the pulpit with me. I don’t really read it, but it definitely serves as both a security blanket as well as a guide to keep me on the straight path. I do a ton of research for every sermon and I usually have enough in my mind to only glance at the paper once in awhile so I probably could just preach the message without notes. But something in my spirit wanted not to do that. By grace I reacted correctly.
Lord, I prayed, you know what you’re doing and I don’t. But I trust you. I am going to do my devotions as planned and listen to you tell me what you want me to do.
As I opened Hebrews and started reading, I was full of peace. As I finished my planned reading I began to formulate another sermon – completely different than the one I planned.
The text was the first chapter of 1 Samuel – a readily preachable mothers day sermon. So I opened my wife’s laptop and began typing with my bible on one knee and my coffee cup on the other. The sermon just flowed from my fingers. As I rounded the turn and began to enter the final lap so to speak my wife’s computer crashed.
I stared at the screen in disbelief. My sermon was gone and inaccessible for the second time in one day – the day I was supposed to preach it. I closed the computer and went to shave and get my suit on. On the way I again prayed “Lord, I trust you.”
After donning my suit and explaining the situation to my wife – we prayed and I returned to her laptop – when I reloaded the word processor most of the sermon still remained in a repaired document format. I picked up where it left off and finished typing (while saving the document every few lines). Finally I printed it out as the rest of the family was climbing into the minivan to head off to church.
I’d love to just say that God gave me a new message that morning, and in fact I will say it. It’s not inspired scripture but it was God’s word to the people of this local body for the day. I didn’t even write out the conclusion but it was a call to take the very thing, event, person, whatever that they most desired and to give it – completely – to God. I’ll post the text tomorrow (if it doesn’t crash and burn.)
I have learned once again that God is faithful. He knows my weakness and my tendencies to rely too heavily on technology rather than on Him. But I believe I passed the test, small though it was. I was panicking inside but I believe that God is sovereign. Computers don’t even crash without his permission. Neither Bill Gates nor Linus Torvalds can supersede God’s authority over operating systems.
I am grateful to God this morning that he had a better plan than I did. And I am grateful for his wonderful gift of faith – that I might trust him when I suddenly don’t know what I’m supposed to say or do.