Friday, January 22, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A lesson on faith learned from computer updates

Necessary Updates
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” 
–James 1:2-4 (ESV)

Some years back, I remember witnessing my computer install a series of updates that took so long, I thought I would never see the end of it.

At the time, my computer was my lifeline. I used it for work, school, and to stay connected to friends and family; sometimes using it for close to 20 hours a day. One night as I attempted to shut down my computer, I noticed it was ready to install a few updates. The notification stated that the device should not be powered down or unplugged, and I obliged by placing the computer to the side and allowing it to finish updating as I continued to get ready for bed.

About twenty minutes later, I noticed it hadn’t shut down and was still installing updates. I thought it was strange but didn’t think too much of it; I went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I noticed the computer was still updating. So far, this update had taken close to 10 hours, and I found myself beginning to panic. Something had to be wrong. If it took this long, how much longer would it take? I didn’t want to stop it for fear of messing it up and making things worse, so I waited.

Finally (somewhere around hour 15), the updates were complete, and the computer powered down. In pure shock (and with much hesitation), I restarted the computer. It powered on without any issues and worked properly just as it had the night before. The incident was strange, but after a few days of pondering, I let it go.

Months later, I was reminded of the prolonged update. Then, it hit me: Updates are downloads that the device receives for the purpose of improving the device. We don’t always have control of the updates we receive or when we receive them, but we know that when we get them, it’s to benefit and extend the life of the device. I remember applying that idea to my spiritual life trusting that the Lord knows what we need, when we need it, and He performs updates regularly in our lives to better us and His Kingdom. Great! Duly noted.

Fast forward to the year 2020.

The world seemingly stops and is turned upside down. Sadly, some of our lives turn upside down right along with it shaking loose any permanent entities we believed were tethered in our personal lives. Some of us lost jobs. Our educational systems were stretched beyond reason. Friends and families found themselves at odds as they recognized differing stances on race, politics, and religion. This is all in addition to the entire world fearing, suffering, and grieving through a pandemic many of us were not prepared for. We’ve seen so much death, destruction, and hatred in the year 2020, that it’s hard to see us returning to the world we once knew.

If you’re still reading, I want to encourage you with this:

Remember when you found yourself in that season that just wouldn’t end? The tests. The trials. All the times things just wouldn’t seem to go right … and remember how God not only brought you through it, but how He grew you through it? How in the midst of the chaos, He nurtured you in that season of waiting so you could be better on the other side of it? Maybe you haven’t experienced that season before, but you’re definitely experiencing it now. The season where you find yourself questioning if ‘this’ is what you signed up for or even if ‘it’ is worth it.

Trust me. It is.

You’ve been equipped for it. Just as that computer took so much time to install the necessary updates to keep it running smoothly, you may be in a season where He’s installing His necessary updates within you. And it may seem like you’re simply sitting and waiting, and that’s okay.

Whether you’re in the season of downloading (learning) updates or installing (applying) them, waiting can be the hardest part – but the hardest part is usually what makes the process worth it. Trust that He is equipping you with everything you need to be used for His glory.

Author Bio:
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts.

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education. Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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