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God Hates Spam, by Paul Lee

    My co-worker sat, shoulders slumping, staring at the computer monitor. He mumbled repetitively at the screen the way only programmers can. “Dumb thing. Why are you doing this to me? Dumb thing.”

    “What’s wrong?" I asked.

    Still staring at the computer he replied, “We’re trying to send off that big email to 10,000 people and things aren’t cooperating. First it crashed, and now we’ve found out that we got the wrong data from the database and about half of the addresses are no good. Now we’ve got to figure out which ones actually got sent, and which ones were the good addresses and it’s all just a big mess!” He gave a light slap to the side of the monitor for emphasis.

    I looked over at our boss, who was smiling wryly and shaking his head slowly. “This makes it official,” I said smiling back. “God hates spam.”

    “You might joke about it," he said, "but every time we’ve tried to do a mass mailing, it’s been like this. Computer problems, data problems…every time it’s a nightmare. I think I’m beginning to get the message!”

    Now, we might laugh about a situation like this, but I think there is an important—if somewhat painful—lesson to be learned. If we want to speak of God “opening doors” for us, “guiding” us into great jobs or good decisions, we must also be prepared to think of him as a God who closes doors as well.

    Sometimes things don’t work out. At least, not the way we wanted. Some of our most cherished desires, our most sought-after dreams will elude us. I’d love to say that wasn’t true. But I know it first-hand, and I’m sure you do too.

Sometimes things don't work out.     Moses knew it, as well. After years in the wilderness, he was allowed to see—but not enter—the promised land. David longed to build the temple, but that was reserved for Solomon. Paul wanted to have the “thorn in the flesh” removed, but he was denied relief. And in the midst of his pain, Job knew the fear and uncertainty we experience when it all seems to go wrong.

    We want to see the path God has laid out for us—no, actually, we want to dictate the path that God will lay out for us. But when we put our lives into his hands, when we fully commit ourselves to him, we have to understand that we may not understand. As I face day to day life, I wonder “Is this God’s will? Is that God’s will? Where will all this lead? This isn’t what I would expect!”

    I am thankful for a God that cares enough to defeat me. Selfish desires, fickle emotions, even heartfelt longings are nothing in the face of the will of the Almighty. His will is for a holy me, a spiritual me, a me full of grace and love and action. Everything else is secondary.

    When I focus on my will, my heart can lie, my brain can be mistaken, my hopes and dreams can be misplaced. But everything comes around when I put the focus on his will. His Spirit draws me closer to him through every victory and every defeat.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
Article copyright 1998, Paul Lee. May be reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.
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