I can still remember one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. After years of being out of school, I decided to go and take some college courses at the young age of 40! Some of the classes that I decided to take were computer classes.
Sad to say, when I started these computer classes, I knew nothing about computers and that included the thing attached to the computer called a “mouse.” The only mice I knew about were those small, beady-eyed creatures that I would never consider holding in my hand. So here I was, in college for the first time, holding a mouse and learning all I could about PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Access.
The dinging computer exam
After a few short weeks, it was time for the first exam. This was unlike any other test I had ever taken. When you take a written test and don’t know the answer to a question, only you and the professor know. But not with this computer exam! During that computer exam, every time I selected the wrong operation, the computer would make a loud “ding” sound! The whole class heard it!
It was a vicious cycle! The more the computer “dinged” with its loud, ridiculous ring—announcing to the whole class, “she got it wrong again”—the more stressed I became. The more stressed I became, the more wrong answers I would choose, and of course, the more dings I would hear!
I felt as if every eye was staring at me. I was so afraid to look up and see if the professor was glaring at me—for I heard no one else’s computer sounding any dings. I wanted so badly to just get up and run out of that class never to return.
However, I did not go on my strong impulse to run out. I realized that all those “dings” meant I had some work to do to learn the computer. Plus most of my classmates probably felt sympathy rather than contempt toward me. I stayed with it and studied harder and I passed that class!
Dings of life will fade
The dinging of my computer told me something was wrong, and I had to do a lot of work to correct the situation. In the same way, examining ourselves before Passover will also reveal things we need to be working on in our lives.
Passover will be coming up soon, and it can seem like we are in a class taking a not-so-silent exam as we search ourselves and ask God to search our hearts with mercy. During this time of self-examination, it may seem as if all our shortcomings are just leaping out at us, sounding loud dings to get our attention. But though it may be painful to face up to our sins and faults, at least they are between us and God and no one else knows or needs to know.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). Of course, during the exam period, this correction can get us down and discourage us if we cannot clearly see the bigger picture.
All the loud dings in our life, which let us know that something is wrong, will fade away and be replaced with God’s character and the brightness of God’s Spirit.
What is the bigger picture? Foremost, it is that we are saved by God’s forgiveness and grace—which He freely gives us—not by our overcoming or perfection in this life (Ephesians 2:8-9). Passover comes before the Days of Unleavened Bread, which makes it clear that God is willing to forgive our sins upon repentance before we have done much overcoming of our bad habits. But the Days of Unleavened Bread remind us that one of our goals in life must be to overcome and become more like God in character. Then at the return of Jesus Christ, we will be born into the family of God so that we can serve Him and others for eternity in love, compassion and mercy.
We will be uncomfortable as we see more and more of our sins—just as I was in that computer class. As our flaws are exposed, we want to run. However, if we do not run but simply humble ourselves in the Master’s hands and lay all those sins and flaws at God’s feet He will forgive us and help us master those flaws that are a part of our lives. In time, we will notice fewer and fewer dings.
Passover is a wonderful time to take stock of our lives, to evaluate how far we have come and what things we need to work on. It is an opportunity to move forward with growth and become more like Christ to become a new person.
We will become skilled in our Christian lives—as I eventually became skilled with the computer. All the loud dings in our life, which let us know that something is wrong, will fade away and be replaced with God’s character and the brightness of God’s Spirit.
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing; to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (Psalm 92:12-15).
We should be growing in God’s character, but if the dings ever completely stop going off in our lives then we’re really in trouble! As we read in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Yes, as you and I move forward, the dings in our life will fade away, but let’s hope that they never totally disappear, just get a lot quieter.