Christian Living

The Sanctifying Power of Technical Difficulties

Like so many other ministry leaders, the pandemic catapulted me into a technological world that I barely knew existed. Although I had participated in a handful of Zoom calls in the past, I didn’t know how to setup a meeting myself. While I was aware of a few churches that had broadcast their worship services on Facebook Live, I had never dreamed that so many would simultaneously do so and nearly crash the site. While I knew that online giving was an option, I had never utilized it myself.

That all changed during March 2020.

Now, I know how to record a sermon in my office on a video camera and a small external microphone. Now I know how to edit videos in iMovie. I have learned how to schedule a video premiere on Facebook. Not only do I now know how to setup a Zoom meeting, I know how to record it, share my screen, and mute all participants at the same time. So much has changed in so little time.

Unfortunately, with the utilization of new technologies also comes the greater likelihood of technical difficulties. And I have experienced my fair share during the past six months:

  • During a Facebook premiere of an associational Holy Week service, the video played for 15 minutes (while I interacted in the comments) before suddenly restarting without warning. And then it did it again!
  • During a Pastors Zoom Meeting, I could not hear one of the pastors (and yes, his microphone was unmuted).
  • During a Facebook Live broadcast, the Wi-Fi at my home church kept going out, which interrupted the broadcast multiple times.
  • I discovered that the video uploads to Facebook, Vimeo, and Youtube can take hours.
  • During a severe thunderstorm, lightning struck near my home church and destroyed most of our sound and video equipment.
  • While recording a sermon to share on the Facebook page of churches without pastors, my microphone shorted out without warning, which caused me to preach and record the same sermon three times before it finally worked.
  • And just yesterday, I received a shipment of two new microphones for my video camera. Still no audio. So, I’ve concluded that the mics are not the problem; the camera is.

I love technology, when it works! But when it doesn’t, I find myself becoming incredibly frustrated. Unfortunately, all of the little technological gadgets could care less if I’m upset. Therefore, I find that I end up taking out my frustration on whoever has the misfortune of being around me at the time. My smile often becomes a scowl. I can become easily irritated and more likely to be grouchy toward others. All because the Wi-Fi stopped working. 

I don’t always respond this way, but it happens more often than I’d like. However, the good news is that these technical difficulties remind me of three important truths about myself. Perhaps you need these reminders as well.

Reminder #1: I am not in control

As much as I’d like to be in control of every circumstance and situation in my life, these technical difficulties remind me that I’m not. God is sovereign. He is all-powerful. He is in complete control. And I am none of those things. 

Because I need to be reminded of these truths on a regular basis, God often allows difficult circumstances in my life to put things into the proper perspective. Sometimes those challenges are minor, coming in the form of technical difficulties or being late to an appointment or having car trouble. At other times, the challenges may be more serious in nature, such as the death of a loved one, a serious medical diagnosis, or the loss of a job.

In each of these circumstances (whether major or minor), I’m reminded that I’m not in control. But I know who is!

Reminder #2: I am not perfect

Although I can’t always control my circumstances, I can control how I respond to those circumstances. Unfortunately, I’m not always pleased with my response. It’s amazing that something as simple as a technical difficulty can cause me to temporarily change my mood and the way I treat others. It’s serves as a painful, yet necessary reminder that I’m not perfect.

Everyone who knows me is already well aware of this fact, but somehow, I need to be reminded of it on a regular basis. My sinful pride often gets in the way, and I convince myself that I have it all together. That is, until my microphone stops working.

The simple truth is that no one is perfect, except Jesus. Whenever I respond to a difficult situation with anger, worry, jealousy, bitterness, or in a host of other negative ways, it reveals that I am still a work in progress. 

Reminder #3: I need the gospel every day

I once thought that the gospel was something that needed to be preached only to unbelievers. To help them understand that they were sinners in need of a Savior, and to share the good news that they can receive eternal life if they will confess and repent of their sins and put their trust in Jesus.

However, because I’m not perfect, I now know that I need to be reminded of the gospel on a daily basis. Whenever I stumble, Satan would love to convince me that God can no longer love me or use me. He would love to make me forget verses like Romans 8:1-2, which says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death,” or 1 John 2:1, which says: “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the righteous one.”

These verses are glorious reminders of the gospel. And because I am not perfect, I need to be reminded of these wonderful truths on a daily basis, but especially when the internet goes down.

I still don’t enjoy technical difficulties, but I am learning to be thankful for these surprising sources of sanctification. God has used them, along with many other difficult circumstances, to remind me of some important truths. I pray He will do the same for you. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go figure out why these new microphones are not working with my video camera…

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