Technical difficulties are annoying. Today at work I was attempting to transfer a sweatshirt from the warehouse inventory to the Mo Center Duck Store’s inventory and a part of doing all that is printing off some papers. These papers are relatively important because they help us keep track of when items come out of one store and into another and who was the one sending those items to the other store and blah, blah, blah. My problem earlier this afternoon was no matter what I tried to do, the papers wouldn’t print.
Strangely enough, this is the thing that I’m thankful for today.
I should explain. If you’re on Facebook, you probably have at least one or two friends participating in a sort of 30 days of Thanksgiving thing where each day they post about something they’re thankful for. With Emmaus Life, the church I’m a part of, we’ve decided to do something similar, but with a slight catch. We want to think over the various things God has given us and to be thankful for them, but we want to focus on the things that might be out of the ordinary or maybe even negative or painful. We’re trying to look at the things that might be considered “curses” and see how God is making them into blessings.
Today was day two of our 30-day stint. And what I found to be the one thing that I’m thankful for – the one thing God showed me today – is technical difficulties. Another way I describe them is “logistics” or “fine details.” Essentially they’re the tiniest parts of life that without them, there’d be no life at all. It’s like your heart beating or your lungs convulsing in such a way to bring in oxygen, which then helps to feed your heart with blood cells, which then pumps those blood cells throughout your body so that you live. All of this happens without us giving it any thought. We just wake up, drink our coffee, and go to work. And yet if one of theses tiny pieces of our circulatory system wasn’t working probably, we may not be able to get to work – let alone do the work our jobs require.
Today’s technical difficulties pointed out to me that if one of the many intricacies of life was out of place, out of order, or simply not working properly, nothing moves. I believe it works the same with our spiritual lives. If we aren’t paying attention to how things are functioning, we burn ourselves out or crash along the side of the road. But apart from doing those little things comes a very important element – the one element God wanted me to notice today at work: patience.
My mishap with the printer and the computer kept me from completing the task I was trying to get done. If it had been a busier day or if a customer was waiting on that sweatshirt, I would have been very irritated with the printer for slowing me down. What God taught me this morning is that if I’m not patient through the fine details of life, I’m not going to be very calm or peaceful or even loving. In the spiritual sense, if I’m not taking the time to slow down and be patient through the seasons of solitude, the hourly wages, or the aging of my car, then I’m not going to be a very Godly guy – one who resembles the characteristics of Christ. And honestly, if I’m not patient through all the things I’m currently going through now, then I know I’m not going to be if or when they ever arrive.
More often than not, the technical difficulties of our every day lives cause us to slow down – even if only for a few moments – and practice patience. In the world, this merely means keeping calm while a printer tries to figure out if it wants to print or not. In God’s kingdom, it could be something much more meaningful, something much closer to the heart, something that might even shape our character. In this season of Thanksgiving, may we find the “technical difficulties” of our spiritual lives and practice patience as God finds a way to work them out.