Replace, repair, reset.
I guess it happens to all of us. Something breaks down. Is it essential or non-essential to our lives? Should we get it fixed right away, until our cash flow is better, or discard it and get the newest version? Do we repair or do we replace?
As some of you know, Terri and I are renters for the first time in a long, long time. I have owned a home since 1978. So, when our dishwasher went out at Christmas, when our family was here, I had to ask the landlord to make the call: repair or replace. I was grateful when the decision was made and 5 weeks later the work was completed. During the waiting period we had the wonderful opportunity to revive some old childhood skills…washing dishes by hand. By the way, the decision that was made was REPAIR.
Last week, as we were preparing for company to arrive (is there a pattern here) something got stuck in the garbage disposal. I used the ¼ inch hexagonal wrench to loosen whatever had been jammed and finally got it to a point where the blade moved freely. Repaired…no need to replace. I got up from under the sink, turned on the disposal switch. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Company was coming so I knew I was going to…to Sears to get a new disposal. Replace…repairing hadn’t worked. I got home with the new disposal, pulled all the cleaning supplies from under the sink, got on my back to view the lay of the land to begin my replacement job and noticed a single word I had not noticed when this journey had began. RESET. I bushed the magic button, got up from under the sink, turned the disposal switch on, voile, power. Reset had won the day. No need to repair or replace.
As I write this blog I am sitting in the Waiting Room of a surgery center. My son is having surgery on his shoulder. Sam has always enjoyed leaping and diving for things. I played a game with my boys when they were younger where I tried to make them dive to catch footballs or baseballs. It was a game, a fun game. Sam turned that diving to catch a ball into a career of sorts. He earned his way through college as a soccer goal keeper. Being a smaller ‘keeper’ than most, he did a lot of jumping and diving and landing on his shoulder. This is his third shoulder surgery. Each has been a repair job. How we wish we could hit a reset button and everything would be fine. How grateful we are that it is not a replacement job that some have had to endure.
The decisions we make when we deal with the mechanisms of body, car, dishwashers, etc., are much simpler than when we have to make the same decisions in regards to relationships. Employers must seek wisdom to know whether they replace, repair, or reset an employee when things are not going right. Some churches, especially smaller churches, have had to struggle as they determine if they can replace a newly departed pastor or reset the style of congregation they are going to be by using lay leadership. Many marriages wish they could hit a ‘reset’ button and return to the love they shared before the kids, before the jobs, before the problems began to arise. How difficult it becomes when resetting is not an option and the decision to repair (go to counseling) or replace (divorce) must be made.
When you think of your relationship with God, your spiritual life, which of these words best describes what you have or are experiencing? There are a lot of people who have replaced their traditional relationship with God with something different. What they had been taught did not work or no longer works and they know they must find something new. As a result they leave their Christian faith and replace it with Buddhism or Islam or New Age spirituality or nothing. There are others that have needed to repair their relationship with God. They have wandered far and wide from that daily intimacy they knew as a younger person. They used to Love God deeply, but, the cares of the world pulled them away. The separation was not from a catastrophic event. It was more or a slow slide and one day they awoke and knew separation had begun. How does a person reconnect with the Almighty? How does one fall in love with Jesus all over again?
For many Christians (dare I say most) I think hitting the ‘reset’ button needs to be a regular part of our spiritual walk. Something happens between us and God (usually on the us-side of things) hit the reset upon, begin afresh. Say something that is not God honoring, follow selfish pursuits…reset and then get on with it. I have always believed God has a bad memory (I have often argued that if anything, this one thing proves that God isn’t perfect…unless God perfectly forgets). God’s goal is for the renewal of the relationship more than the punishment for the sin. It is on side of things that we have to let go of our mistakes, failures, sins, and get going once again.
I love this ‘reset’ idea from God’s side of things. In 1 John 1:9 we read:
If we confess our sins God is faithful and just and forgives our sins and cleanses us form all unrighteousness.
Our confessing is the acknowledgement that we need to ‘reset.’ Such resetting activates the heart of God to do what God is pre-committed to do, forgive.
Of course the goal of ‘resetting’ is to get us doing what we were designed to do, i.e., to love God with all we are and love our neighbor as our self. Tomorrow begins the Season of Lent. This is a season for reflection and contemplation as we remember the time Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing to begin his earthly ministry. If you are led to reset your relationship with God this Lent, why not also spend time reflecting on what God is calling you to do with the remainder in the service of God’s Kingdom. Spend time in prayer asking God what he would have you do. Ask God to be specific. Then prayerfully develop a plan to begin pursuing God’s plan for you.
God bless you as you reset your life once again on the purposes of God and God’s Kingdom.