Technology is wonderful when it works!
Technology is disappointing when it breaks down!
Technology is extremely frustrating when it nearly works but not quite!
At Christmas time I bought a new (second hand) PDA phone with all the gadgetry. The only problem is that it runs a version of Windows and my desktop computer runs the linux operating system.
There is software available to make the two systems talk to each other and synchronise and all that sort of cool stuff. I downloaded it, followed the instructions meticulously and it didn't work 😦
Then the developers said that I would need to compile the linux kernel to make it work. That's sort of the software equivalent of open heart surgery for beginners. So I thought I would leave it until I could get enough courage to tamper with my computer.
Then the other day I happened to look at the web site for the software and noticed that a new version had been released, the site had been upgraded, and best of all, I didn't have to compile the kernel.
So I happily downloaded a dozen software packages, installed them and typed in the command that was supposed to make the magic happen. Plugged in the PDA. Nothing. The instructions didn't allow for nothing. They said if it works it will spit out this much junk, and if it only spits out one line there's a problem. But nothing wasn't an option.
I went back over the instructions. I looked at various logs. I tried guessing at instructions that weren't there but might have been needed. Some of the steps included commands like modprobe which sounds very painful for all involved.
More emails to the developers and user lists. Still no helpful answer.
Then this morning came a reply that I hadn't even thought of. A very obscure setting deep in the bowels of the PDA's menu system had to be switched over.
Could this be the key?
I navigated through the menu steps to the relevant setting. And sure enough it was set to the wrong alternative. I clicked on the screen, typed in the magic word into my computer, plugged the PDA, and joy oh joy, the long awaited meaningless lines of garbage appeared on the screen.
Great was the rejoicing in the office. W00t as they say in geek circles!
Now I just have to install the rest of the software to actually synchronise the machines, but that is relatively painless they tell me. We will see.
Anyway, I thought about the fact that my joy at seeing this task completed was magnified because it proved to be difficult. If it had just been plug and go, I would have thought "that's nice." Instead I had to endure frustration, I had to work hard to find solutions, I had to engage a support community and I had to persevere. All of that effort produced in me a great sense of joy that I had actually achieved something.
Much of the joy in our lives comes only when we have actually had to overcome adversity or setbacks, or just had to work hard for a goal.
It is the difficulties that we face that makes true joy possible.
I think this is part of the answer of why God allows suffering in the world. I don't think for a minute that God causes suffering and hardship.
But isn't it true that we only truly appreciate the things that come to us at a cost?
I think it's true also that God values us even more because He has paid a huge price for us.
God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.