My daughter is a toddler, and my only child. As a first time parent, I’m learning very quickly that my child provides a very interesting lens through which I look at life and my relationship with God. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from posting to the blog since the holiday season, not because I needed the break, but because I needed a computer.
My daughter has taken inspiration from Curious George and climbs up onto, and investigates, everything she sees. In December, while I left the living room for a moment, my daughter hopped up onto the couch to check out my laptop sitting on a tray table. She inadvertently kicked over the table (and laptop), and long story short, it broke the hard drive. I lost everything I’ve done on that laptop for the past couple years. Everything else was intact somehow, but the hard drive was dead. I mentioned “long story short”… I’m leaving out a lot of details about my reaction this incident.
So I ventured out several weeks later, and after rallying support for an early birthday gift from my wife, my parents, and a rewards program on my credit card, I got a new laptop. I am happy with it. But I had this small problem.
The old laptop is actually still in great shape, but the hard drive it dead. Those are not cheap. And if I got a new one, I’d need to buy a license to get another version of Windows onto it. Also not spare change. Do I recycle the old laptop? Give it away to some tech-savvy person?
My dad suggested that I give it to him. At his office where he works, they have to replace computer systems every so often, and he usually can grab little spare computer parts before they are recycled. So my dad put an old but functional hard drive he had into the laptop. Then he installed a free, basic operating system onto the laptop, put on a web browser and a couple of kiddie games, put up a big picture of Elmo as the theme on the startup desktop screen, and get this… gave the laptop to my twenty month old daughter, who broke the laptop in the first place!!!
A while later, I was reading a familiar passage about what God can do to the human heart. “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh,” Ezekiel 36:26. What my dad did to the old laptop, God does to the human heart. In fact, the entire story with the laptop is a good analogy. Most often, if a person is to allow God to “install” a new hear and new spirit with that person, the exterior has to take a fall. Something usually breaks. The hardware sometimes has to hit rock bottom to realize that something new is needed.
We humans can truly be arrogant and complacent. For several years before I became a follower of Jesus, there were several people telling me the Good News. I was a miserable and depressed person for years, and I still resisted for several years of God ganging up on me with an army of His people. I had to break… a few times. The new heart and spirit in me was dramatically different from the old one; I was in college at the time and everyone noticed. It was that obvious.
As “good news” people, it is our mission to be the instruments of God’s redemptive work in the world. We carry this mission to places where bad news predominates, and it can be disheartening to see someone hit what we think is rock bottom, and then sink even lower. It is not my intention to be unrealistic; our mission is hard, we pray as if lives depend on it, we hit rock bottom or watch others hit rock bottom, and not every single story is a happy ending. But I do want to encourage you with this truth, that God intends and zealously desires to transform stone cold hearts into hearts bursting with life and joy, and to adopt those far away into this divine family marked by good news.
As God goes on to say through the prophet in verse 28, “you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Just like that old laptop being revived with an entirely different hard drive, God can revive you or someone you know in a powerful and real way.