November 10, 1992
Computer people say it is not a matter of IF it happens but WHEN it happens. For me, it happened Saturday morning — my hard drive crashed. For those who do not know, the hard drive is the part that contains software programs necessary for using the computer, plus any information that has been saved or written on to its disk. A crash means it does not work; the information usually cannot be retrieved. It is gone forever.
My software is not a problem because we still have the original disks. As for my own data, I had a few hundred documents on that hard drive, including five or six manuscripts for Parables, this semester’s school work, letters, some artwork, and so on. Fortunately, most of it was also saved on portable disks called “floppies.” But, because my habits of backing up daily had lapsed, some things were lost, including at least two essays that must be researched and rewritten before their due dates later this month.
After taking the dead drive to a technician who replaced it with a new one, I spent several hours reloading my software programs.
As for the lost work, I felt something like a marathon runner might feel after 25 miles and the finish line in sight when someone’s dog runs out from the sidelines and bites him on the leg. Or maybe like the mother who brings a fresh load of sun-dried laundry in from the clothesline and one of her children spills a big can of tomato soup in it. A whole week of work — gone.
When I told my husband that I did not feel very enthusiastic about redoing the work, he responded with a simple question, “Why were you doing it in the first place?” His question was just what I needed to pull me out of my gloom.
For one thing, it reminded me I had set definite goals before starting Bible College. Prior to this, my educational ambition was only to achieve good grades and satisfy class requirements. Now, since I am aware that the Lord wants me to be more like Him, I decided it was important to do all the work but the goal would be greater spiritual maturity, not good marks.
Bob’s question also reminded me of a place in Scripture that talks about eternal rewards for the work we do in our Christian lives. It says some actions have potential for making an eternal impact; some have no lasting value. God will test them somehow by fire: “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
God does not need a computer to know how we live, but if He somehow choose to record my whole life on a hard disk, then when the crash comes and my life is over, according to this passage, He does not simply toss the disk (as we will likely do with ours). Instead, He recovers what has been built on “the foundation which is Jesus Christ,” those actions done in faith and in the power of the Lord. He also rewards them in some undefined way. In other words, the good data is recoverable.
On the other hand, any of my life that was corrupted by selfishness and rebellion against Him will be burned; it is not fit for eternity. This includes not only the obvious uglies like hate, anger, lies, and so on but even so called “Christian service” that I did for my own glory and not for God. Because He knows everything about our hearts and motives, He justly evaluates what we do.
Looking back on the “loss” of some data now takes a different perspective. All that God has done during the past two years to change me is recorded on my heart and life where it should be — certainly (and thankfully) not on my hard drive!