The internet in our home began faltering on Friday. By Saturday it was totally off, with occasional 30 second connections. I called our provider, navigated my way through a seemingly endless series of prompts, did everything I was asked to do on my end to fix it, and, at least a half hour later, was able to speak with a live human being in Atlanta. After an additional half hour, she had the internet on my iPad connected. I said, “Thanks”, she ended the conversation, and then within 5 minutes our internet was out again! Patience.
I played with it on and off until Sunday afternoon, when I called again. I navigated my way through all the same prompts, failed home fixes and all, until about 45 minutes later I received a call back, and an apology. The service person in the Carolinas decided after a half hour that it was a bigger problem than she could handle. She connected me to someone outside of the US. After another half hour she determined we needed a new modem and promised next day delivery between 8:00 – 5:00. Persistence.
Around 6:30 p.m. Monday I called to see why our modem had not been delivered. Of course, the first 20 minutes of the call was the same as the first two. When I was connected with Dina in Chicago, she immediately apologized and started to search for our order. 20 some minutes later she concluded that it had never been placed – and that a promise of next day delivery should never have been made. Additionally, she introduced the topic of us receiving a credit for days without service. When all was said and done, a new modem was ordered, I received confirmation of delivery in 3-5 days, and I was connected to someone in the billing department (same foreign country as Saturday) to discuss some billing issues. Patience and persistence.
Also, on the positive side, on the third phone call I figured something out. At the conclusion of the conversation when the service representative said, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” my response was, “Yes. Later this evening my wife and I will be praying together, and I am wondering if there is anything you would like us to bring to Jesus?” Each time I wondered what was going through their mind during the awkward silence that followed!
Has it only been one month since “Stay Home” became the word? It seems like three! And we still have no idea when it will end … or if any of the things we try will succeed.
Though my mind this week has been focused upon Psalm 16.2 – “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you’”, today it is trending 11 chapters down the road. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? … Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’ … Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27.1, 7-8, 14)
Patience is the name of the game these days – perhaps even the major message God is sending us during this pandemic. But what is the difference between patience and laziness … and how do being proactive and persistent mix with waiting? If I had not called back on Monday, when would I have learned that no order had been placed on Sunday?
My internet provider, our healthcare system, our government, and even my congregation are human institutions. Mistakes will be made. Problems and disagreements are to be expected. A proper blend of patience and persistence are generally required.
Which, amazingly, seems to be the same combination we are to use with God! We are told to pray without ceasing, “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious and answer me,” and to “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” And then I discover something else … this is the same combination with which God deals with me! Patience and Persistence.
And as simple evidence P+P might be a good idea, UPS delivered our new modem as I drove up to our condo on Wednesday afternoon, and within the hour our internet was up and running … God is good … all the time.