Think a donkey is the most stubborn thing on earth?  Think again!  Written a while ago, but still relevant…

“Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me.”
Numbers 22:32   (New Living Translation)

So, this last week I decided it was time to really get some documentation updated. Throughout the week, I located the necessary paperwork without too much difficulty. Got it all together and after work on Friday, came home, sat down at the computer, and looked for the old files on my computer. Looked through several directories, but the file was not to be found. I wasn’t too concerned because I had the hard-copy in hand, but I stubbornly continued looking instead of immediately retyping it.

I’d been having software problems with Microsoft Word all week. I would go to open up the file with my “Little Devotionals” where I attempt to turn a word into a prayer, and the computer would lock up altogether. I got several different error messages – a “Kernel 32” error of some sort, a “WINWORD” error of some sort in the “USER.EXE file”, a “system dangerously low in resources” error, and finally, it just locked up completely Friday night. I was dumbfounded. I sent a “please help” message to a friend of mine, Tom, who is good with this stuff, and he recommended I uninstall Word and then reinstall it. So, I did that – nada. I did it again, just in case – nope. In fact, I decided to uninstall all the MS Office 2000 products on my machine and reinstall them – still zilch.

Several hours of clicking on the same buttons, and I finally decided to give it a rest, said my prayers, and went to bed at perhaps about 1:00 a.m. Got up around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, read my passages in Numbers, took a shower and got ready for the day. Decided to do some other Bible study homework, but was so exhausted from the previous night, I fell back asleep around 9:00 a.m. My sister Karen called and woke me up around noon to make sure I was still meeting her for lunch, so I headed out the door. Got back around 3:00 p.m. and started struggling with the computer again. Gosh, it just would not be fixed for anything.

Called a friend in Silver Spring, Maryland, just to chat. Barbara is a good counselor. We exchanged news. I talked about a pretty severe test I had recently been through, but through which I thought that I managed to retain, if not completely maintain, the “joy”. That I thought that throughout the test I sought Jesus and found Jesus continually, even though there were a few breakdown moments. I figured I had learned lessons throughout the experience and that at least passed some of the test.

I felt so good after talking with Barbara. I got back on the computer. Dratted thing would not work for anything. Decided to go through all the same steps I had just been through to resolve the problem. Only this time, I was clicking harder; perhaps the machine would respond to force. You know, kinda like trying to prove you can push your finger through a thick piece of wood. I could not believe I could not get Word to open. I hate to admit this, but there were tears of frustration in my eyes as I kept rebooting and rebooting this computer. “Where is the joy now?” I thought. Finally, I turned the thing off, prayed and went to bed around midnight.

I got up today, Sunday, and turned on the computer. My thought was that rest would fix the computer, apparently, since I tried all the same failing steps that had been attempted previously. “What a stubborn computer,” I thought to myself. (Ironic thought, huh?) I gave up, read my passages in Numbers, wondered what enlightenment I was supposed to receive from the passages (see passage at top of page for further irony), prayed, showered and dressed, and went off to church. The message was a good one and one particular part that struck me was when the pastor talked about the fact that Jesus could come back at any time. Really, I’m hearing that and thinking that all the time right now and it is just striking a chord deep within me. How do I want Jesus to find me? I want to be at my best, on my game, in the zone, acing tests, scoring touchdowns – all the while, carrying His flag. I thought about that a lot as I drove home. And all the implications.

I turned on the computer. With many sighs, I tried to get Word to work. Still nothing. I called my friend Kim. “Kim,” I cried, “Help! What could possibly be wrong??? How can there be an icon there, but I can’t get it to work??” Poor Kim was busy paying bills that had risen exponentially since the previous month, so I started sympathizing with her which made me feel a bit better, although still frustrated – no Word, no writing. She recommended I call Microsoft. Novel idea, isn’t it? Ask the creator for help.

So, I called Microsoft. After a wait of maybe 10 minutes, the customer support representative walked me through some debugging steps and it turned out my “Normal” file was corrupted. The “Normal” file can become corrupted when you abnormally reboot your computer and a message comes up that the “Normal file has been modified – would you like to save the changes?” and you click “Yes” when you should actually click “No.” I believe I clicked “Yes” once in error and some bad changes got saved in my “Normal” file.

It was quite simple really to fix the problem once it was identified. There was no “hard” clicking necessary, no tears required, no self-recrimination needed, just a few simple steps and a new “Normal” file was created.

It quite amused me, as well as shamed me, to think of the frustration, self-recrimination, negativity, etc., I had experienced over this simple problem – and the answer was that I needed a new “Normal” file. And it was quite easy to get one – I just had to get rid of the old bad “Normal” file. Throw it away, send it to the recycle bin, delete it. The system automatically created a new good “Normal” file for me once I had done that. But it couldn’t do it until I had taken the proper steps.

God, thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to delete my old corrupted “Normal” file and for sending the Holy Spirit to create my new “Normal” file. Forgive me my stubbornness as my machinery every once in a while still seeks the old file’s paths. Thank you for refreshing my memory with your Word every day.


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