A Floppy Disk, Anyone? God’s faithfulness gives Christians the edge.
Clarification for skeptic Millennials: What follows is a true story.
South America. College campus. The mid-90s.
The instructions for sending an email went something like this,
1. Use your desktop (in the unlikely case you have one), or visit a friend/professor/school officer who allows you to use his or hers.
2. Write your letter in Word 5.1, including the addressee email, and save it in an 8-inch or a 3½-inch floppy disk.
3. Place your labeled floppy disk in an envelope, and take it to one specific office on the second floor of the Administration Building (the only one able/authorized to send emails). The assigned college officer will eventually open your message, copy it to the institutional email account, and send it to the addressee you included in your message.
4. If you eventually get an answer, he is committed to printing the message (at no charge!), and include it in the envelope you provided, together with your floppy disk.
5. Pick up your envelope/floppy disk/answer.
“If you are worried about privacy, please keep writing regular letters and visiting your local post office instead.”
An additional unwritten instruction should have read, “If you are worried about privacy, please keep writing regular letters and visiting your local post office instead.” In any case, the system was mostly used by foreign (i.e. American) students, since most regular students—and their parents—did not have an email account to begin with (or did not even understand what email was about.)
A Throwaway Reality?
Just a couple of decades later, drowning in an endless ocean of junk emails, offers of cutting-edge apps, and “free” program trials, I find it mind-boggling to see how far computer technology has come. While it is impossible to prove that this incessant influx of “upgrade” options is making us smarter, it’s clear by now it is making us more restless. We are always playing catch-up!
How to make sense of such a disposable approach to reality?
Among myriad options, Bible-believing Christians keep touting the peace of mind resulting from the knowledge that they serve a Lord who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). In the rough seas of constant change, God brings stability to our restless hearts. Such definition of God certainly includes His attributes. Christians believe God is powerful. They believe He is merciful. Above all, Christians believe He is faithful. All the time.
God’s faithfulness is not an abstract notion—through the eyes of faith, Christians can witness God’s faithfulness in their daily lives, and in the trustworthiness of His revelation.
Breaking News: Bad Food is Bad for You!
Take a report I read in a national newspaper a few days ago, for instance.
According to a feature published in USA Today on January 12 by Mary Bowerman, the consumption of processed foods, some meats, and alcohol is linked to a greater risk of cancer. For Seventh-day Adventist Christians, this news is no news, but for the fact that we have known it—and been proclaiming it—for more than 150 years!
Bowerman asks some experts what to do about it. The answer? Angie Murad, a registered dietician nutritionist, advises, among other things, to “shift the focus to vegetarian sources of protein,” “incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet,” “make sure there is no added sugar” in your fruit, and get “regular physical activity.” Again, from a Seventh-day Adventist standpoint, no news, though it gives some undisguised satisfaction to see science trying to catch up.
Let Science Catch Up
In some other areas of knowledge, however, science still insists on running away from God’s revealed truth and even mocks those who do not follow suit (take the Creation-Evolution controversy, for instance.) But Christians should not lose their sleep over the trustworthiness of biblical and prophetic truth. What goes around comes around (Have you ever seen those vintage ads with physicians recommending a particular brand of cigarettes?) In fact, what we are increasingly witnessing regarding unhealthy food options and alcohol consumption somewhat mirrors the history of smoking, all the way from virtuous to villain!
As we cruise through the first month of 2017, still reflecting on what it has been, and looking forward to what it might be, I invite you to think less about your latest downloaded app and more about downloading God’s messages into your spiritually floppy heart; to think less about your cloud storage options, and more about the One coming in the clouds.
Because in the steady light of His presence, no transient floppy disk—or storage cloud, for that matter—will ever do.