I love those, don’t you? Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that the folks who created your computer’s operating system are so completely on top of things that they’ve issued yet another update?
You were hoping to quit for the day. You were in the process of punching your computer’s lights out. And then that screen screams at you: “Stop! Whatever you do, don’t turn this thing off or unplug it! Incredibly important updates will now be downloaded and installed. Just wait! You had nothing else important to do, did you?”
Of course not. And now you have ample time for fervent prayer. You pray that the machine will work the next time you turn it on. (I find special comfort in the notifications that it is now “configuring” something I thought I’d configured “way back when.”)
I confess that my initial—well, maybe my second—reaction is always the same: If you people had built this right in the first place you wouldn’t have to update it constantly. That’s the same reaction I have when my wife wants to rearrange the furniture or mess much with our decor. I thought we worked hard to do it right the first time. So now why don’t we just leave well enough alone and get on with life and “the next thing”?
My wife is a patient lady, but she almost nailed me with a Christmas ornament the year I proposed taking pictures of our decorations so we could put them up in exactly the same way the next time around. I thought it was a compliment. After all, she’d done an excellent job. Why wouldn’t a pic help us just do it again more simply? She didn’t seem to think so.
But you and I were talking about computers.
I admit that in a world with constantly evolving computer threats—viruses, malware, etc.—some regular security updates must be necessary. Still, I’ve set my machine to update as infrequently as possible. “Never” is probably a bad idea. But it’s tempting. (I still think it’s a good idea with regard to furniture.)
“Software update available,” said my phone this morning. “Let me do that, okay?” If it had been “man’s best friend,” it would have been jumping up and down, panting, and running in circles. “C’mon, c’mon, please! Now, okay? Now?”
But I was two minutes from the time I would really need that hyperactive device to do something else for which it would need its brain. I didn’t have time for it to be comatose while its brain reloaded. So I did what I always do: I said No. Eventually, you know, it will disobey, even if you say No. But I like to say No about three times to maintain my illusion of control.
This afternoon, I said Yes, and now it’s back on. It still works. Some things look just a tad different in ways I can’t put my finger on. Putting my finger on it to get it to open up still works—about a quarter of the time. Like usual. No change in the fact that it likes my mask even less than I do.
All I’ve noticed so far is that the volume slider on the screen is now vertical instead of horizontal. Boy, that’s a relief! I wasn’t sure how much longer I could live with a horizontal volume slider.
Just kidding. I’ll stumble onto a few other changes in the next few days. Most won’t matter as much as that slider.
But surely the phone is way more secure now, right? And maybe even smarter, too? Maybe its predictive text feature will know that when you text a saxophone player, “Sax on Monday?” vowels matter.
Some changes in life really qualify as UP-dates, actual improvements. Some are just annoying and tempt me to grimace and mutter misappropriated Bible verses: “Vanity of vanities, it’s all vanity!” What’s the real difference anyway? Probably not much. (If you can avoid me on a day when I’m given to quoting Ecclesiastes, you probably should.)
I’m sure of this, though. The Changeless One’s love, goodness, mercy, grace, and faithfulness will never change. We do well to listen when James tells us that the One who created the heavenly lights—sun, moon, stars, and all—isn’t like the changing shadows that even those celestial giants cast, as steadfast as they are. The Giver of all “good and perfect gifts” never changes at all (James 1:17).
I will, however, suggest that you unplug now for a few moments. Turn over maybe to James 1, Romans 8, or a good psalm or two, and let God’s Spirit update your software.
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.