Monday, January 2, 2017

Are you plugged in? .......... Parables 531

October 29, 1996

“Could you please find some information about glaucoma for me?” the caller asked. I could have used my encyclopedias—both sets require technology—they are on CDS. I also could have called the reference section of the library, using the telephone.

Instead, I decided to use the Internet. I loaded my web browser, keyed in my password and a box appeared on the computer screen telling me that the “server was not responding.” I grabbed the phone, dialed my access provider and got a taped recording. Their answering machine told me their connections to the Internet were not working (which I already knew) however, they blamed the telephone company. When the problem was fixed, they would promptly change the message on the machine. I still didn’t know anything about glaucoma.

For those unfamiliar with any of the above terminology, I apologize. Glaucoma is a vision-threatening condition of the eye caused by internal pressure. The rest of it translates to this: machines are trying to rule the world!

I often wonder if these machines have a mind of their own. Anyone who operates any technology, computer or cash register, realizes when something goes wrong, it is not a simple matter of tightening a few loose screws or replacing a burned-out part. You first have to discover the problem. Nine times out of ten, it is hidden in something mysterious, like software (where does that go when you “load” it into your computer?) or worse, in the hardware (that cannot be found or inexpensively replaced at the local hardware store either).

Electronic circuitry is well-soldered but can be fragile and finicky. Fixing it can be complicated, but not always. Once my computer would not boot up (start running) so I turned it off, took off the case that covers its innards, rattled a couple of wires and tried again. It worked. Go figure.

I’m only joking when I say machines are trying to rule the world. Not one of them can argue with a big hammer or remain alive when we pull the plug. Even if they could, there is a force much more powerful. In fact, computer chips or even the electricity that keeps them running cannot be compared with this mysterious power. Moreover, this power is available to anyone and anyone can use it—without lessons or an owner’s manual!

This power has the potential to rule the world. It is prayer. I know, it sounds like a cliché, but look at some examples. James, half-brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19) once scoffed the Lord’s decisions and did not believe in Him (John 7:5). However, he later changed and became a leader in the church in Jerusalem. In the book of Scripture he wrote, he talks about prayer’s power: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.” Prayer reaches out to a powerful God.

James goes on: “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Prayer reaches the mercy and loving kindness of God, for both healing and forgiveness of sin.

He continues: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

Prayer reaches the Creator who has His hand on all that He has made. That is why prayer is so powerful—it links our needs to Almighty God who hears and answers the cries of His people. Yet prayer is something like technology; for it to work, we must plug ourselves in — to Him.

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