I never realized how dependent upon my computer I was until I wasn’t able to use it. And then there was the snake.
The Slow Computer
Last Wednesday I was working diligently on my computer, attempting to get several projects moved forward when all of a sudden, my computer went from zippy-quick to sludgy-slow. It seemed odd that the computer just all-of-a-sudden lost its ability to function, and despite what I did, nothing seemed to fix it.
The rest of the day was a battle attempting to be productive with a computer that didn’t want to be. I tried solutions I thought would work—like restarting the computer, running my “clean my mac” software, praying over it, and I even considered an exorcism (just kidding). Nothing worked.
I asked several friends and didn’t offer much help either. Thursday I was caught up teaching and meetings all day so having a computer that didn’t work wasn’t too inconvenient. Friday I was at my end, out of options, and was convinced I needed to drive an hour to the Mac store to get it fixed.
Before heading off for an afternoon computer adventure, I was working in my office when I casually mentioned the problem to my friend Philip. I told him over the last two days it was running crazy slow (click something it would take upwards of 5 minutes to open the file, etc) but there were times when it seemed to run a little faster—in short, the speed seemed to ebb and flow, which made no sense to me. He wasn’t sure what was wrong but he grabbed my computer and said he wanted to check a few things.
He looked at my RAM and noticed that for whatever reason I was maxed out. Maxed out? That made no sense. But as we looked at what programs were using the computer’s memory, we discovered that a couple of my internet windows was taking nearly all of my available RAM. Apparently some research I was doing on Wednesday (which I left open) was bogging down my computer.
We exited those internet tabs, and whamo! the computer was back to normal.
The Slithering Snake
The next evening I was out for a jog. It was getting late and darkness began to creep over the beautiful lake I was jogging around. The weather was delightfully warm, yet a soothing cool breeze was blowing over the lake. I was pondering my crazy computer challenge when I noticed a stick on the path.
It was rather dark and only the outline of the stick could be seen as I neared its location. But within a couple steps from it, it started to move … toward me.
Now I don’t like snakes. I don’t mind looking at them at the zoo, but I don’t like looking at them in “real life”—especially if it is anywhere near me. In all likelihood, it was probably a harmless garden snake but my “run from snakes” instinct kicked in and I didn’t bother to stay and find out. I took off at a full sprint, keeping my legs high and my pace quick.
About a quarter mile later, I turned back to see if the slithering serpent was chasing me (I know this seems irrational but it made sense in the moment). I slowed my pace and tried to keep my breathing in check, while I thanked God for saving my life and limbs.
The Spiritual Insight
It wasn’t an epiphany, but as I spent a few moments walking around the lake, I realized there was a profound spiritual insight to be gained.
So often we hurry and fill our minds with so many distractions, fears, and worries that it bogs us down. God desires for us to perform at an optimal level, and yet with all the extra windows of our mind running in the background, it keeps our focus off of what is really important.
My computer was designed to perform well, but when I leave things running in the background that take all of its memory space, it slows the whole machine down. The same thing is true in our lives. Jesus tells us over and over to have no fear or worry. We aren’t to allow those things to take up any of our mental space. In fact, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 what our mind is to be focused upon—and the conclusion is simply: Jesus.
It’s not that I can’t think about anything else, but He is my lens, my grid, the boundary for what should and shouldn’t be in my mind. And I have to admit, anytime something beds itself in my mind that isn’t rooted in Christ, I discover that it takes all my mental focus and energy … it bogs me down.
The writer of Hebrews says: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It is amazing to me that this passage, while talking about running a race, is centered upon the idea of focus. Jesus is to be our focus! It also says that we are to throw off any and every weight so we can run with endurance. While this is obviously talking about sin, it can also be understood that we are to lay aside anything that is not helping us run the race. When I was running from the snake, I was extremely grateful that I wasn’t weighed down with an extra 100 pounds of equipment on my back. Even an extra 10 pounds would have slowed my pace, and I’m sure the snake would have been able to get me.
What is it in our lives that is keeping our focus, our heart, our mind off of Jesus? Is there anything taking up the mental space of my mind causing my life to be bogged down? Is there any weight (sin or otherwise) that is slowing me down in my Christian life? Is Jesus truly my one delight and focus?
I’m not sure about you, but a slow computer and a slithering snake caused me to examine my life and see my need for Jesus all the more.