An Important Lesson Learned–the Hard Way!

One would think that learning a lesson the hard way–that is, from mistakes made in the School of Hard Knocks–would teach an unforgettable lesson that would ensure zero recidivism. Yet, too often, some of us are guilty of ignoring the lessons and going merrily along with our lives, never thinking of the possible dangers or consequences. And we often pay the price for such obliviousness.

That was my sad state recently when my laptop crashed and burned–and took many of my files and accumulated photos with it. I lost photos of family gatherings, the grandkids, the romantic vacations with my wife, and photos taken specifically for writing assignments–and who knows what else in those now-deceased files.

But I had followed the oft-given warnings and saved the files to backup files that were stored elsewhere, off the computer and out of harm’s way, right?

Wrong! I had intended to do that–someday. When I got more time. But I never found that time. So I had to pay a price–the loss of valuable files and the added (and totally unnecessary) expense of a new computer. And boy, have prices ever gone up since I bought my last laptop! In shopping for the replacement, I also discovered that technology has changed a lot, too, so I now have to spend inconvenient and even more valuable time learning how to use the new tool. (Where is that print button! Why won’t it do what I want it to do? Why did it do that? How do I get back to where I belong? Now what did I do wrong?) It ain’t easy to teach an old dog new tricks!

Lesson learned? One would think so, but I know my own nature. We’ll see.

But there’s a silver lining behind every dark cloud, and I searched desperately to find mine in this debacle. My old laptop was ten years old. That’s ancient in a world where the life span of the average laptop is only six or seven years. I was due for a new one anyway. And at my age, there’s a distinct possibility–if the new laptop is as good as the old one was–that this will be the last laptop I’ll ever need. And I can be thankful that my book manuscript (listed, by the way, in McFarland Publishing’s Spring 2016 catalog), most of my article archives and works in progress, and at least a few photos were stored on flash drives that were unaffected by my lack of foresight. Redemption can be found, even for the worst bungler!

Such is life. Humans have the warnings of Scripture to tell us that we need to be saved. Most people, however, choose to ignore the obvious, many of them even admitting the need and saying that they’ll do it–someday. Like Felix in Acts 24, they promise that they’ll address the issue “when [they] have a convenient season.” In many cases, however, they never get that “convenient season.” And for many of those who do get saved, they regret that they did not do it sooner and thereby avoid some life-scarring mistakes and lessons learned almost too late. The silver lining is that they eventually did get saved, and the scars from the earlier mistakes are constant reminders of their foolishness in delaying. They are teachers that will prevent future mistakes.

From now on, I think that I’ll take the ubiquitous advice seriously and act upon it: Save your work! Back up your files! Put it off at your own risk!

Don’t be forced to learn these two lessons–one technological and the other theological–the hard way. Ensure that you save your work, but, above all else, ensure that the most important saving has been done–the saving of your immortal soul–by trusting in a loving and merciful God.

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