It just keeps going and going and going…

I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

Devotees of Apple products are a smug lot. (Apple devotees reading this just said, smugly, “Yea we are!”) However, some of my best friends are Apple users, so what’s a guy to do? (Other than a lot of eye-rolling.)

I’ve never owned an iPod or an iPhone or used an Apple computer with any success. I tried to use my friend George’s Mac a couple of times but all the buttons I needed to click were in the wrong place and I spent half the time yelling to him in the next room, “What happens if I click this little red thingy?” It was a lovely machine with the processor and hard drive all built into the monitor (which was as big as a truck windshield) but the learning curve was just too steep for a long-time and impatient PC guy.

In the spirit of full disclosure, however, I must confess – I do have an iPad, my only Apple product.

Although I vowed not to succumb to the siren song of Apple Inc. with their be-all, end-all technology and bank-account-draining tech trinkets, a co-worker, who was dashed against the Apple rocks long ago, bought the latest generation iPad and sold me his first generation one for a mere pittance. (The first app I downloaded was a Bible app; I feel that justified the purchase…)

It’s a handy little machine and makes me feel all Star Trek-y. (It’s just like the ubiquitous Star Trek PADD – Personal Access Display Device – that no self-respecting 24th century starship captain would be caught dead without.) In addition to about 50 Bible translations, I have apps for reading eBooks, playing games, checking my credit card and bank accounts, posting information here on “clay” – pretty much everything I can do with a computer, except I can do it while getting my oil changed or shopping for groceries.

Each newer version of the iPad that’s been introduced has upped the ante with more power, less weight, a higher resolution screen, a camera, more bling, and a higher price tag, but I’m happy with my basic model; it does everything I want it to do.

Well, sort of.

Apple Inc. has just released the newest version of its operating system for all of its various hand-held iDevices – except ones as old as mine. Sadly, my trusty iPad is no longer compatible with the latest and greatest Apple has to offer. Of course, I can still use all the apps I currently have (New York Times Crossword Puzzles – woo-hoo!), but many of the cool new apps being introduced will only work with the new operating system.

Bummer.

I absolutely get the financial aspects of a company upgrading and creating new technology – at some point, you have to quit manufacturing parts for the Model T and move on. I just trusted that I would be able to use my comparatively heavy, first-generation iPad for, you know, ever and ever.

The Random House dictionary defines the word “ever” as “continuously” or “at all times.” Based on either of those definitions, there was no way my iPad was going to keep going and going and going for ever and ever. It was bound to become obsolete before my first starship flight.

Actually, there’s not much we can trust for ever and ever without fail:

  • The sturdiest, most well-built things wear out.
  • People let us down or – worse – die.
  • VHS tapes become obsolete.
  • Even the polar icecaps melt.

However, there is one thing we can trust in “continuously” and “at all times;” David wrote about it in Psalm 52:8:

I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Or, to use our Random House definition:

I trust in God’s unfailing love “continuously” and “at all times”.

God’s love for us will never:

  • Wear out
  • Let us down
  • Become obsolete
  • Change
  • Waver
  • Break
  • Crumble
  • Need repair
  • Melt
  • Die

God’s love is a constant, consistent, dependable, unchangeable, unwaverable, unbreakable, unmeltable, everlasting reality.

I love to sing songs about God’s love and proclaim that God is love; however, let a few monkey wrenches get thrown into my normally well-oiled, smooth-operating daily life – like lately, for example – and it’s like all memory of His love for me gets tossed in the garbage disposal. With work stuff and car repair stuff and just stuff in general taking center stage the past few weeks, I’ve stressed and whined and been absolutely self-possessed with anxiety and worry.

Egoism at its worst. Not pretty.

But here’s the thing – I think that maybe those wrenches were allowed by God. While He might not have been the one doing the tossing, He certainly didn’t stop the tossee. (Ooh – spellcheck does not like the word “tossee”) And, while God is quick to tell me that His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8) and that I can’t always know what He’s thinking (Romans 11:34), I can certainly take a stab at guessing why He allowed these things to happen: He knew I needed a lesson – another one – in trust.

Recently, I found myself falling back into old, pre-salvation patterns of behavior – letting my pride and self-sufficiency take over, trying to manage everything under my own power. And when I got too focused on trying to handle my stuff all by myself, God let a little rain fall so I would be reminded who my umbrella is.

I got kind of soaked there for a while. My Prayer Time (capital “P,” capital “T”) was one long to-do list for God: “Please help my car stop dying on me so I can get to work and finish this hard project on time that I’m struggling with and let this weird looking spot on my back be nothing but a weird looking spot and…” on and on.

When He finally broke through my little self-centered, quivering, stressed-out voice with His own comforting, still, small voice, I heard Him say (in that way that I know He’s speaking to me), “I can do that. And while we’re at it, how about you also learn to trust that I love you no matter what?”

Ouch. But He didn’t stop there. (He almost never does.)

“Do you think this is really about your stuff? Hardly; it’s more about your reaction to your stuff – more precisely, about trusting that I love you no matter what and that, even when stuff comes your way, I’m in the stuff, too. It’s about – and here’s a novel concept – you trusting that even if things are happening that are out of your control, they’re not out of mine; that I’m in control of everything – even your stuff.”

I was kind of surprised He used the word “stuff” so much…

And through all this, He also kept sending me back to the verse from Isaiah 41:10 that I had used several times recently to encourage friends who were going through their own challenges:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

(No fair using my own encouragement verse against me…)

Of course, it’s not like He promised there would never be a time when I would struggle to keep all the plates spinning. In John 16:33 Jesus said, plainly:

“In this world you will have trouble.”

Just so you know, I’m aware that those things I was dealing with were minor in the grand scheme of things. A little car trouble is nothing compared to Christians throughout the world fearing for their lives because of their faith. And dealing with work challenges is trivial compared to worrying where one’s next meal is coming from. And that weird looking spot on my back? It was just a weird looking spot – it could have been cancer.

If the car and work and dermatological stuff had been a pop quiz, God would have written on my test paper in red before handing it back: “If you can’t trust me to be your umbrella in a little rain shower, how are you going to trust me when the real storm comes?”

In looking around at the world we live in, I’m afraid that storm is coming – and I want to get an “A” on that test (or at least a B+). Which shouldn’t be hard, since God has already given me the answers:

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

That’s all I need to know.

So even though things and people – even my own best efforts – will eventually fail me, there is one thing I know from experience I can trust in continuously and at all times: God’s unfailing love.

Now – New York Times crossword puzzle, anyone…?

3 thoughts on “It just keeps going and going and going…

  1. OK so I’m going to say it again…..you need to write a book 🙂
    Seriously though, this post is spot on. And the Isaiah verse is on a ragged yellow index card in my purse–referred to on a regular basis! And I am so happy to know that the spot is just a spot!!!

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