Be careful what you preach. You may have to practice it.
Some time ago, I preached on trusting in the Lord - not our skills, talents, money, houses, alliances, jobs, wisdom, strength, and for good measure I even threw in "the cloud." You see, I tend to trust in the cloud. I feel quite confident in my ability to survive a computer crash because I save most files to the cloud. They're not stored locally on my computer, so I can access them from any computer. But I noted as I preached that even the cloud can fail you. I know that. But even after preaching it, I still trusted the cloud.
And so this past Thursday night before going to bed, I turned on my (not quite 5 month old) computer. Except it didn't turn on. Stone cold dead. No indicator lights. No powering down after holding the power button down. No sign of life. Nothing. Did I panic? Nope. Was it because of my confidence that God was in control. Sadly, no. It was because: the cloud! Sure, earlier that day, I had put together about 7 or 8 pages (out of a usual 12 or so total) of my sermon for the coming Sunday. But I went to bed without qualms. I knew I could fire up my old computer or borrow Erin's and be back in business; finish off the last few pages of the sermon, clean it all up and be good to go for Sunday. I did get out my old computer that night so it could start updating since I hadn't used it in a few months. I was so confident and at peace, that I didn't even try find or open the sermon file that night or even Friday morning, for that matter. I was not pleased that a fairly new computer wasn't working, but figuring out the problem wasn't urgent, and it was still under warranty.
Some time around or after lunch on Friday I got on my old computer and went to the trusted cloud to fetch my sermon and start working on it again. You know that sinking feeling in your gut? The one you get when you're pretty sure something bad has happened, but you're not quite sure. Yup. Sermon wasn't there. I poked around and couldn't find it. I was not a boiling pot of rage, but I was pretty sad and stressed about how to get my sermon done. I'll spare you a blow by blow of my afternoon trying to get my computer on again to find the file, finally giving up (quite aware that all the time I spent running around doing that I could have been re-writing my sermon).
And so, the sermon I preached yesterday was not quite the one I originally wrote on Thursday. I am aware that losing 2/3 of a sermon on a Friday afternoon is not the end of the world. Unpleasant as it was, no big deal in the big picture. The point is more that all too often my trust is misplaced. Cloud = peace. No cloud = less peace. Something's wrong with that picture. We're supposed to rest easy in the arms of our faithful Savior who is always with us. If it takes a lost sermon to remind me of that, then good. Hopefully I will learn and grow. We can be thankful for our health, strength, friends, houses, jobs, wisdom, bank accounts, and yes, even the cloud. But if we ultimately trust in those things, we will be disappointed. We have misplaced our trust. That's something that we will never be able to say about faith fixed on our faithful God and Savior. In him our trust is never misplaced and it will never be disappointed.
(For those of you freaking out that you could have found my sermon for me, etc. Here's what I think happened. Thursday I was working at my "other office," Martin's, where I sometimes have trouble connecting to their network. I think that in the absence of an internet connection, files set to save to "the cloud" are saved locally on the computer and synced to the cloud the next time you are online. That' no problem, unless your computer crashes before the next time you connect to the internet. And it looks like the problem with the computer may be the power cord. Time will tell. I'll still use the cloud. But I hope my faith will more truly be in the Lord.)
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