A couple of days ago I broke my phone. Again. It just slipped out of my hand… Okay, let’s be honest, I was juggling too many things, didn’t want to bother putting them down, and trying to open a door that was stuck, so of course I dropped it. I’ve dropped it several times over the past two years that I’ve owned it, but the case always seemed to protect it. Not this time. This time the screen turned to white. The phrase that flashed across my mind was one I had seen the last time I googled broken iPhones. It’s an ominous phrase….
The White Screen of Death. (shudder)
I was on my way to my prayer time on the back porch looking over the gorgeous woods in one corner of South Louisiana. I have recently been using an app called Pray As You Go to help focus my scattered brain during my prayer time. But now of course my phone was dead.
The last time this happened I freaked out. My phone is like my portable office. It has my means of communication with the world, my email, my contacts, my photos and videos. I’m in a foreign country, my phone (plus wifi) is my lifeline. Whatsapp! Everything happens on Whatsapp! That day I was planning to use the phone to record interviews for a project I’m working on. And now, it was all dead. So the last time (a few days earlier), I spent the morning googling how to fix it, trying to figure out how much it would cost to repair (too much), emailing everyone to say I was off Whatsapp, posting on facebook and asking for prayers. And worrying, worrying, thinking of what I should do, how I would manage without it.
Yes, I know I may be too attached to my phone, but it was a real problem! I didn’t have a back up phone. I only have an iPhone because it’s third-hand and a friend gave it to me.
The last time it broke, it had weird white lines across the screen, and when I switched it off and tried to turn it back on, nothing happened. I did it again and again, nothing. Google had nothing helpful for me. And then a few hours later, I tried one more time, and it came on… with a white film over the screen, that gradually faded. True miracle story.
Anyway this time it was just the White Screen of Death, and nothing else. But something miraculous happened. I did not freak out. I didn’t rush to tell anyone, or google it. I continued with my plan of having my prayer time, even without an audio bible reading and reflection (What?? People can pray without any tools??) I walked around the beautiful green yard with the crisp cool air and the welcome warmth of the sunshine on my face. I picked a flower. And I felt a deep sense of peace.
I didn’t know what I should do. I had no guarantee it would ever turn on again, let alone in time for my interview in an hour. There had to be a solution, but I didn’t know what it was yet. And yet I was at peace.
And then it hit me – THIS is what it means to trust in God’s promises, and to be a woman of faith. I’ve often struggled with that. I both loved and hated this verse: ‘Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was promised to her by the Lord.’ Luke 1:45
“I’d love to believe Your promises, God… but what are they exactly? You never guaranteed that we would get everything we wanted, that life would go exactly the way we wanted. People have trusted you and still been martyred, people have trusted you and still suffered the loss of loved ones, people have trusted you and still remained childless or spouseless. So what exactly am I trusting? Or hoping for? Or believing?”
Too many people act as if getting what they want is the prize for trusting God.
But today I realized… trusting God meant trusting Him to provide an unknown good outcome. It doesn’t mean the elimination of hardships and trials (like the MASSIVE TRIAL OF LIVING WITHOUT A PHONE <--sarcasm), it doesn’t mean the complexities of the human condition and situations just disappear. I hate it when people just over-simplify everything and close their eyes to real complicated situations.
BUT. God’s promise is that He WILL work it out. That everything is going to be okay. That we WILL ultimately be happy. That He will never abandon us. That our lives are full of hope even when we don’t get exactly what we want. That He will provide answers, even if they’re not the ones we expected.
But here’s the bigger one. He promised that HE HIMSELF will be our prize, that He will satisfy our desires with HIMSELF. If we think any human gift is more attractive than Heaven is, it is because we still have not glimpsed or tasted the love of Christ, or we have forgotten.
I don’t know what my future holds. It has been frustrating sometimes to not know. I am unmarried, so I don’t have the stability or permanence of family life (though families tell me their lives have as many questions). I am an itinerant full-time volunteer, moving to different homes and cities, travelling more than I’d prefer. I’ve worked with so many different people and projects and kids in so many different ways. Where will I be ten years from now? What will I be doing? I have no idea. There are so many factors out of my control. But I can trust that it will be an unknown GOOD future. It will have joys, it will have struggles. But I know Who will still be at my side, and I know life with Him is more than enough.
After I finished praying that day, I went in to do the interview. I decided to plug my phone into my laptop, just to see. And yes, it just turned on. I’m glad I didn’t waste the previous hour worrying. And I refuse to spend my current life worrying about everything. God’s going to work it all out beautifully, as He does for anyone who seeks Him, walks with Him and trusts Him.