As Good As New

Good As NewI knew I should’ve been grateful. Still, I complained about my Toshiba touch screen laptop. Although less than a year old, it seemed much too slow. My applications didn’t work according to their design. And, I grew weary of the daily pop-ups suggesting I accept the free upgrade to Windows 10. I decided to make the switch to the new operating system—as soon as I wrapped up a writing contract due just weeks later.

But after the upgrade, my laptop stopped functioning altogether. (Ok, occasionally, it would boot up after 20 or more minutes, but its capabilities were severely limited.) Microsoft’s phone support couldn’t provide an immediate solution. Consequently, the customer service rep suggested I take my laptop to a Microsoft store to be inspected. The nearest one was more than 20 miles away. Ugh!

With that, I complained some more—to the person on the other end of the phone, to the folks in my household, and to anyone else who’d listen. I wanted to trash my laptop and start over with a new one. The past several months had been a nightmare. After all, a writer needs her laptop, right?

After visiting the Microsoft store, I was glad I’d backed up my data because the prognosis was grim. The technician needed to wipe my laptop clean and reload the operating system. My equipment would stay in Microsoft’s capable hands for a couple of days. I signed a few papers and said, “Good riddance,” to the computer.

To my surprise, when I went to pick up my equipment, it worked better than it did 10 months prior when I first brought it home. It was equipped with Windows 10, ran more quickly, and had a few new features that I grew to love. Plus, as I reloaded my data, I got to reorganize everything for optimal accessibility. All was well.

The folks at Microsoft were a joy, to boot. Of course, their services were free of charge. I couldn’t get enough of these folks. The next day, I even drove the 20+ miles again to attend a free workshop they co-hosted with another company.

Folks, sometimes we simply feel like complaining. We dislike the way things are headed in our lives. We want new homes and cars or perhaps better wardrobes. Maybe we’re new parents and just want a little extra sleep. Some folks even consider ditching a marriage or some other relationship that’s hit a hard patch. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “stuff” that’s ballooned alongside the 2016 U.S. presidential election—the complaints, taunts, and divisions—oh my! 

My advice: Hold on and know that God is the One who will one day “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5, KJV). In the meantime, He can revive marriages, renew our love for an estranged sibling, and help us to appreciate the things we already have. He can bring judgment upon a nation and expose sin. He unites people for His purposes, and He can also change hearts. Whatever He’s up to—whether it’s something as simple as working out an issue with a laptop or handling a nation’s crises—I trust Him.  Will you?

A Shift of Focus

A Shift of FocusThe aroma of yeast rolls and fried chicken wafts out from the fellowship hall and travels into the sanctuary. Suddenly, our focus shifts. Instead of feasting on the preached word, we anticipate the mouthwatering spread we’ll soon face. Before we can say amen, we strategically place one foot into the aisle and gather our belongings. We hope to get first dibs on dinner and dessert—a pound cake or peach cobbler, of course.

Okay, this may be an exaggeration, but you get the picture. When we anticipate something good, we can hardly wait to receive it:  a new baby, a gift, a special meal, or maybe a visit from a distant loved one. But what happens when we receive something that leaves us puzzled, and consequently, we don’t know what to expect?

That’s the position I was in a few months ago. I was consistently drawn to two songs, “Safe in His Arms” by Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers and “He’s Preparing Me” by Daryl Coley. I purchased and downloaded copies of the music. (I still play the songs daily.) Around the same time frame, I kept seeing verses that reminded me God would sustain me. Still, I didn’t understand it all.

Weeks later, though, I experienced a sudden onset of a chronic illness. When I felt like my body was shutting down, those verses gave me strength. Plus, the songs God put in my Spirit encouraged me. He had prepared me in advance for the struggles He knew I’d face. Everything became clear: I was indeed “Safe in His Arms,” and I was comforted in knowing God would sustain me. (Praise report: I’m much better, now!)

In the months that followed, He gave me additional verses to increase my faith. He’s used them to draw me nearer to Him. I’m sharing some of them with you today in hopes that you, too, will gain strength from God’s Word.  Click here to read them.

Dear sister in Christ, you, too may have recently received some news you didn’t expect. Perhaps you anticipated something good, but it hasn’t yet occurred. If so, the stench of doubt and mistrust could easily waft into your personal space and change your focus. That’s why it’s important to have your own arsenal handy: Scriptures that speak to your unique situation. Gather them. Say them aloud. Then, trust God in the meantime, and know that whatever your concern, God is in control. He’s got this. Yes … even this.