The more I understand the gospel, the more I understand that I don’t really understand the gospel.
The ol’ blog has been quiet as of late. At first it was for the usual reasons: busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, moving faster than a snake in a belt factory, more frantic than Charlie Sheen on the way to Crazyville.
But for the last two weeks, it’s been because I’ve been in deep despair. Depression, gloom, misery, and angst.
Two weeks ago, I opened my church laptop to a frozen screen. The hard drive was dead. Double dog dead. Cyndi Lauper career dead.
Our tech guy looked it over and confirmed: yes, dead. He shipped it off to a specialist who also confirmed: dead. And not only was the internal drive dead, my backup drive had died two months ago and I didn’t even know it. And with those proclamations, something in me died.
For ten days, I mourned the loss of eight years’ worth of data. Sermons. Weddings. Funerals. Spreadsheets. Book reading notes. Writing ideas. All of my digital life was gone.
And for ten days, I questioned the validity and revisited the stupidity of my sorrow: People in Japan can’t find their family members, and you’re upset over some files? You have friends whose adoptions are on hold, and you’re whining about a formerly-operational electronic brick?
Stupid. Shallow. Senseless.
Were those files important? Sure they were. But their loss signaled something much more important: I continue to place my hope in the wrong things. I like my stuff. I like my comfort. I like my predictable life and ability to control things and keep stuff in order.
I realized I don’t trust the intangible nature of the gospel. I don’t practice my proclamation that “Jesus is enough.” I don’t cling to the cross because I’m too busy clinging to the things around me.
Eventually, the backup drive was able to be restored, thanks to the tireless work of our tech miracle man. And rather than losing eight years’ worth of files, I only lost nine weeks’ worth. Nine weeks? I’ll gladly take it.
And even in my elation, I realized that I wouldn’t have been as happy if the outcome were different. Scratch that…I’d have been downright angry. Not angry at myself because I was the idiot who didn’t check his backup drive, but angry because I feel like I deserve better. Like I’m entitled.
This world clings to me so easily, and in turn I cling to this world. We all do. We look to a habit, a job, an addiction, a relationship, a religion…rather than looking to Jesus. The gospel is never enough. Our circumstances carry too much weight. Our desire is never sated. One blip on the radar of our day can send us into overdrive. In our heads, we know Jesus is enough, but our actions say everything except that.
What is clinging to you today? Better yet, what are you clinging to?