It's MJ here. That's what my friends call me.
Do you remember when you bought your first computer? I do! It was early 1991. It terrified me.
All my friends, in the world of words, have told me for years that I needed a word processor, but I always assured them that my typewriter was just fine. After all, it took years for me to decide to use a typewriter instead of pen and paper.
Leave me alone, I said. In good time I will consider a personal computer.
Good time came. I considered. I bought. And there I sat for days (might have been weeks!) staring at an interesting and colorful little blue screen with all kinds of messages at the top and bottom.
If I got in trouble all I had to do was take my little mouse, which sat quietly on the rectangular red pad to my right, and highlight the word HELP at the top of the page. I would click once and on the screen before me would appear instructions about how to get myself out of the mess I was in.
What my friends did not tell me was that the people at IBM apparently knew about people like me. They (the manufacturers) must have firsthand knowledge concerning those of us who were just terrified of machines of any kind. That is the only explanation for the HELP option which stared back at me from the top and bottom of my computer screen.
Nice. It was oh so very nice!
And then there was that other word which has become my good friend, DELETE.
Oh, my, how I do still like that one. If I only had the capacity to delete words from my mind, and off my tongue, as quickly as I can from the little screen which so fast endeared itself to me.
Delete makes me think of forgiveness.
Let me tell you why. For many years I carried around a lot of excess baggage in the form of guilt, real and false, in my mind and heart. Then one night I got the notion to start making a list of all the little sins and shortcomings and failures, that I could think of, which had accumulated over the years. These were things for which I had asked forgiveness in the past. I think I knew that God had forgiven me. At least I knew what Scripture said about Him being a forgiving God. And I hoped He had forgiven me. But there were things I simply could not let go of. So... I started a record.
I made a list.
For one month I kept my list. You would not believe some of the things I recorded! And no way will I record them again here! Because, you see, I only recorded them so I could DELETE them.
When my month was up, I went out on our sundeck early one Sunday morning, and once more I prayed. I confessed all those words and events and actions for which I still felt so guilty, and I asked for forgiveness once more. I spoke with God at length. He seems to understand me and is never surprised or caught even the least bit off guard by the requests I bring before Him. Besides being so used to me by now, He made me, so there just are not any surprises in our relationship.
Anyway, there I stood that early spring morning with my list in one hand, my matches in the other, and my Bible open on the picnic table before me.
PSALM 103: 12 14
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgression from us. Just as a father pitieth (has compassion) on his children, so the Lord pities or has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers and is ever mindful that we are dust.”
(I can't give credit here to any bible translation. I tend to paraphrase scripture from memory so do your own research. Please.)
And then I did it. I set fire to the east side of my papers and watched them burn across to the west side. Yep, and I blew the ashes out into the wind.
DELETED THEM IS WHAT I DID to the best of my ability!
I suppose I probably still carry some excess baggage around, but the piece that had all the guilt in it isn't nearly as heavy now.
God and I, we're still working on me.
Perhaps, it is a little bit like me and my first computer and all those I’ve owned since. I think there are certain aspects of my personality which were programmed in at birth. But I still have OPTIONS, and I get to make a lot of choices about how I function. It is an ongoing process.
At the close of each day I like to think that my Heavenly Father files me away some place safe, close to His heart maybe. And someday, when He is all finished with this piece of work that I am, He will push EDIT for the last time and make a few finishing touches. Then He will touch PRINT, and I will be what I will be for all eternity!
Unless, of course, it's like Billy Graham wrote one time when he was speculating about Heaven. If we get there and God still has work for us to do, assignments, perhaps in this or that corner of the universe, then it could be that He just might have to continue to pull me up on that master computer screen for an adjustment or two, then send me off again!
I'm open to that.
Being the Master Creator there's no telling what God could be up to on any given eternal day. I think He must smile over my shoulder some days. My first IBM is obsolete, now. But, God and I, we like doing things together, and surely He must realize what an improvement computers are typewriters.