Lessons Learned From a Crashed Hard Drive, or
How Jesus Taught Me Some New Things About Patience
by Minister Paul J. Bern (Matt. 5, verses 11-12; James 1, verses 4-5; verse 13)
First, let me thank all my faithful readers who have waited patiently while I spent nearly all of this past week restoring my data to this new hard drive that I installed in my old desktop computer. Although I posted a couple of messages from my local Fed Ex Office on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Me-We alerting everyone that my website and email were temporarily down, it sure is good to be back. For all the rest, or who may be seeing one of my postings for the first time, my computer fell victim to a particularly ferocious hard drive crash this past week. But it didn't take me long to figure out what the problem was, having spent 20 years of my professional life in the technology sector of what is left of the US economy. But my new hard drive’s arrival, combined with restoring my data and folders, took nearly a whole week, which is why there was no weekly email marketing for all this past week. Being a follower of Christ, however, these aggravating circumstances did not cause me to lose my temper. But there's so much more to this than that. Let's see what the Bible says about stuff like this.
First, it says in Matthew chapter 5 and verses 11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets that were before you.” Is it possible that the hard drive that I replaced, which was only 7 months old, failed due to supernatural (that is, satanic) causes? Maybe, but there’s no way that a mere mortal like myself would ever know. Have I otherwise been insulted or threatened on line? I can't even print some of the junk I have been told, mainly by Muslims and atheists but also by a surprising number (to me at least) of alleged “Christians” who condemn everybody who doesn't believe what their little denomination believes in. This has been a problem within the greater Church since the days when the apostle Paul wrote what we now call First Corinthians chapter three, where Paul rightfully shamed the church at Corinth for conflicts over doctrine that were occurring at that time, and which were happening to the detriment of the early Church.
What persons, living or otherwise, could be examples of Matt. 5:11-12 as I write this? The first and most obvious answer would be none other than Jesus Christ Himself, who was beaten and whipped unmercifully, and then shamed by his death by crucifixion, the ultimate death penalty. Jesus rejoiced and was glad in His Spirit when He was crucified – although He chose not to show it – and was buried, only to rise from the grave on the morning of the third day. Moreover, Jesus has received an eternal reward for his perfect fulfillment of Biblical prophecy by being seated at the right hand of his Father in heaven.
Another example I can think of is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was followed incessantly by FBI agents everywhere he went and hounded by the press for years, who hoped they could catch him in one kind of illicit behavior or another. But, even after all those years, they couldn't pin a single thing on that man – nothing! So, they killed him instead. In much the same way the prophets of old were treated, such as the original 11 martyred apostles, and even the prophets of the Old Testament such as Isaiah, who was killed by being sawed in half. More Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th century than were killed in the previous 19 centuries combined! Moreover, there are as many Christians who have been martyred for their faith in the 21st century up until today than were martyred in the entire 20th century. If this isn't a ramping up in the Spirit towards the rapture of the Church, then I’m not sure what is.
There was at least several, and likely more, of the original 11 apostles (or 12 if you count Paul) who also had something important to say about enduring personal attacks as well as attacks in the spirit. Consider the following quotes from James chapter 1, verses 4-5: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. And again it is written further down in verse 13: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. Plus, let's not forget that the apostle Paul taught that “God does not show favoritism” (or, 'is no respecter of persons' in the KJV). Everybody has to go through strongly negative experiences at some point in life, but it happens so God can build us up, not so He can tear us down. God never does that to anybody unless it's a rebuke, but people can do it to themselves unawares.
So, from all that has happened here during the last week, I have learned to feel blessed when faced with adversity, to praise God even when I feel frustrated, and to be at peace even when surrounded by enemies. God has given me a lesson in perseverance, and I have evidently passed the test, although it wasn't easy by a long shot. There were times when my patience were pushed to its very limits and beyond, but now I'm stronger because of it. Now I know more than ever that a crown of righteousness awaits me when my life here is over and I enter heaven, because I have endured the trials that have been set before me. And I will continue, with God's help, to be made strong enough by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to endure any other trials or troubles that may come my way. Also, since I'm no smarter or better than anybody else, everyone who reads this can do the same. This means you, so take this to heart. And next week we’ll be moving on to part 2 of Luke chapter 6.