Last week a second-hand game arrived for my son’s X-Box360. It did not seem to work. I tried running it on many occasions and only twice did it actually work. That was very frustrating. I think it would have been easier to accept if it had not worked at all, but for it to work twice suggests that it could work, but more often than not it won’t.
I am also having a problem with the speech recognition software that I used to use. When I changed to a new laptop I installed it along with the other programs I used to use on the old laptop (same manufacturer) and for some unknown reason it won’t work. All of the other programs are fine, but this won’t launch. It used to be brilliant, now it isn’t. I have to say that the tech support people at the company that produce this software have been trying extraordinarily hard to find out what is wrong and are still trying – can’t fault the customer service even if I can fault the program. But each time they suggest another fix my hopes rise and I try it with a sense of anticipation, only for those hopes to be dashed (at present).
Last week I watched a TV programme about drug addiction and recovery. One of the saddest things was to hear of someone who had gone into rehab and had given it up. The last thing on the documentary was a note saying that she had just gone back into rehab again. But we don’t know if she has completed it and come out ‘clean’.
It seems to me that one of the most frustrating things in life is intermittence. We love things that are reliable, that always work. We recommend them to our friends and family. We might even blog about them. We are disappointed if things never work properly. But we can cope with it either by returning them for one that does work or by getting a refund under our consumer rights. But when something works intermittently we never know if it is going to work or not. We can’t rely on it. We can’t be sure that it will be working when we need it.
I wonder if this is how Jesus felt about his disciples? When you read the gospels (the four credible ones, not the fragments of something that was written centuries later) you find Jesus showing his disciples what to do, teaching them, encouraging them, and then letting them have a go. Sometimes they were awesome. Sometimes they were awful. Just when it looks like they have ‘got it’ they do or say something that demonstrates that they have lost ‘it’ again.
If you are anything like me this is one of the reasons that we can relate so well to the disciples in the gospels. We are like them. Sometimes we are awesome followers of Jesus and sometimes we are awful.
But do not despair. Jesus did not give up on them, and he does not give up on us. Even after they had abandoned him, run for their lives, denied knowing him and even failed to believe that he had been resurrected when others were telling them about it he still forgave, gave fresh starts and gave new roles. That’s grace.
Grace is one of the most powerful forces in the Universe because it sees what we can be rather than what we have been. It does not dwell on the past but anticipates the future in our present.
And the grace of God is consistent. It is not intermittent. Motivated by his love he is always gracious, always forgiving, always generous.
May I be more like that.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
There are three engineers in a car; an electrical engineer, a chemical engineer and a Microsoft engineer.
Suddenly the car just stops by the side of the road, and the three engineers look at each other wondering what could be wrong.
The electrical engineer suggests the electronics of the car be removed down to its parts and then try to trace where a fault might have occurred.
The chemical engineer, not knowing much about cars, suggests that may be the fuel is becoming emulsified and getting blocked somewhere.
Then, the Microsoft engineer, not knowing much about anything, comes up with a suggestion, “Why don’t we close all the windows, get out, get back in, open the windows again? Maybe it’ll work!?”