It was July - August 2006- our second year serving on the mission field in Alaska. We had returned from Strelna Lake Wilderness Bible Camp and I was downloading photographs from the camera to my harddrive at the home of the full-time missionaries we were helping. Before my eyes, as the photos were transferring from my camera to the computer, the ominous blue screen appeared. Total, complete crash. We did not know yet that the data could not be restored. We still had hope at this point that all my data would be recovered as soon as Jake set his mind to it - - after all, Jake ALWAYS got his man in the computer realm. So I packed the computer away and finished our term, thinking it only an inconvenience.
This is the grace of God in easing us into something catastrophic - He allows our comprehension to dawn layer by layer. When we got home, we discovered that the data was completely lost. I had done a full back up of our company files and pictures of my grandchild (one at the time) but had not found the time to back up any of my personal data. The impact of this settled in with gracious slowness. As well as the realization that some company documents were not saved in the files I had backed up..... Once I began to hunt for my creations, realized that I'd lost my entire mind-mapped summary of Romans, all my Bible studies, the few presentations I'd been called upon to do, my resumes, and tons more - - now I was flattened, not just my harddrive. It was not for a while that the biggie was discovered. A few years back we went on a hiking vacation in British Columbia, in search of God metaphors. The Lord blessed us with some spectacular photos, to which I created a power point presentation, synchronized to "Show my Your Glory" by Third Day. We lost the photos as well as the power point. Jake and I both spent a day crying over this one.
So the beauty of this loss was that I finally had NOTHING to show for myself. Everything I had created, accomplished, received any accolades at all for was gone. There was nothing left to do but come empty-handed before the Lord. As I held up my empty hands, bewildered, I sensed His pleasure, and I saw myself being lifted up onto a sea of grace - buoyant, free - seeing the immensity of "it" having been done for me. Nothing I had "done" mattered, all that counted was what "was done" on my behalf by my Lord Jesus. I needed nothing more, I would settle for nothing less. It was finished, I was a new creation, none of the past mattered any longer. I floated there for a while, trying to absorb all I could of the moment. At this point you need to imagine the needle being dragged across the record album, and the angelic refrain coming to an abrupt stop... as I began... to dog paddle....
But after a few more lessons, I started to catch on. I'm learning.... While I'm far from having mastered my flesh in this area, I'm also farther from being clueless as to how deeply the shackles kept me in bondage. How much I was serving the church instead of my Lord. How much I was serving my desire for acceptance instead of my King. It all looked like serving the Lord... it was all ministry... but to whom, really? The book of Galatians certainly has some answers to that...
Then God showed up again. One day Jake was messing around with some computers in the basement. I heard this crescendo of activity then a shout of victory - - he had found an old harddrive that contained the B.C. photos and the power point. The chastening had been accomplished, and restoration had begun. Therefore I
"do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." 2 Cor 4:16
Be sure to check out my flickr photo albums - I loaded lots of BC shots under the "hiking shots"