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Devos

COVID-19 MCO DEVOTIONALS

Be Strong, Stand Firm
What Price Human Life?
“I Can't Breathe”
CTRL-Z
Praise the Lord, O My Soul
The Blood of Jesus
You'll Never Walk Alone
How Changed Are We?
A Sunday Morning's Meditation on Psalm 24

 

CTRL-Z
(Sunday, 24 May 2020)
by Ong Kok Bin

 

I have been on the keyboard a lot these days; the laptop keyboard, that is. Have been doing a lot of typing and editing of pictures and graphics. The revamping of the church's website, for example, demands a lot finger work on the keyboard: getting the photos and graphics crafted to the right size and shape and colour; making sure that the html tags are correctly parsed; the table row and table data column commands properly placed and closed; and so many other nitty-gritties. There were quite many a time when a finger or two did not do their work as the mind told them to; and, horror of horrors, the laptop screen would go blank, or, weird things would jump out from nowhere. “Panic! Don't panic! Don't panic!” as Lance Corporal Jack Jones of Dad's Army would screech out whenever there was a crisis situation, real or imagined. Yes, I have learnt not to panic whenever I hit the wrong button and hours of work on the laptop would disappear off the screen. There is always the CTRL-Z button to hit and undo whatever mistake was made. Oops! What have I just done? Don't worry! Just hit the CTRL-Z button.

I wish there are CTRL-Z buttons in life beyond the laptop keyboard. Don't you? Don't you wish to have a CTRL-Z button at your finger-tips whenever you say or do something stupidly wrong or careless? Oops! What have I just said or done? Don't worry! Just hit the CTRL-Z button. Yes, sometimes, wrongs can be reversed or corrected before they can do any damage. But a whole lot of other times, the wrongs just can't be erased or undone by just using the CTRL-Z button; for there are no CTRL-Z buttons for those wrongs.

James Ma had just got his bright red Ferrari F8 Tributo not too long ago. He was itching to see how fast it could go, to feel its Ferrari power and to hear its Ferrari vroom. But he was getting frustrated. The roads in Singapore simply would not let him tear off on his F8 Tributo to its limits: too many junctions and traffic lights. As for the expressways, they had speed limits and speed traps. It just would not do to drive at 220 kph when you are allowed only 90. He was thinking of taking his supercar across the Causeway and running it on the Expressway 2 to see if he could hit Kuala Lumpur within an hour's time. But that's another matter. One late night, James had just got off from a bar. He was high on drinks and meth. He got into his F8; turned on the ignition key and oh, how he loved the purr of his Ferrari engine! Soon he was out on the road with every intention of getting home and hitting the sack for a good night's sleep. But a car flashed him and passed him on his left. James was furious. He stepped on his accelerator and went after the car. The two were now engaged in a crazy zig-zagging race, weaving in and out of the traffic. James was just about to overtake the other car when he noticed a red traffic light signal just a short distance ahead. The other car zoomed right across the red traffic light; but James had to step on his brakes when he saw a blue taxi crossing the junction. But it was all too late. He slammed into the taxi. The taxi driver and his two passengers were killed on the spot. As for James Ma – he ended up as a paraplegic.

James Ma wished that he had a CTRL-Z button in his Ferrari. But there was none.

There are too many irreversible mistakes done in life that leave one with only regrets and remorse. A snide remark, a swing of the arm, mixing with the wrong company, making a hasty decision, and even neglecting to make it up to someone after a fight. There are no CTRL-Z buttons. And even if there were, they invariably would come too late.

Aaron wished that he had a CTRL-Z button in his hands. When he saw the fierce anger in the face of his brother Moses and when he heard him say, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”, Aaron wished he had that CTRL-Z button to hit immediately; and voila, there was no golden calf. None had ever been made. Instead, he could only grovel and plead with his brother Moses and deflect his own culpability, “Do not be angry, my Lord. You know how prone these people are to evil …” (Exodus 32).

Jephthah was a mighty warrior in Israel. But he was an illegitimate child, a product of a liaison between his father Gilead and a prostitute. His half-brothers despised him and drove him out of the house and out of the land of Gilead. He went to Tob and settled down there. Some time later, Israel was at war with Ammon. His half-brothers, now elders of Gilead, sought him out to lead them in the fight against the Ammonites. He agreed on the condition that they make him their head when he had defeated the Ammonites. So, Jephthah went into battle with the king of Ammon. The Spirit of the Lord was with him. He led his army across Gilead into Manasseh and he had poised himself at Mizpah to launch an onslaught against the Ammonites. The night before the attack, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judges 11:30-31).

As it happened, Jephthah was victorious against the Ammonites. Bursting with pride in his achievement, he returned to his home in Mizpah. But who should come out of the door to meet him? It was not the family cat or the rotten rodent who would steal the bread in the middle of the night. It was his daughter, his one and only child. She had come out “dancing to the sound of tambourines” to welcome her father and celebrate his great success. But as soon as Jephthah got sight of her, he was filled with grief and regret. Tearing his clothes, he cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break” (v. 35).

Oh! How Jephthah would have wished that he had a CTRL-Z button in his hand to undo his vow made so carelessly. But he had none.

Yes, in real-time life, CRTL-Z buttons are hard to come by, especially when you need one most. But even if a CTRL-Z button is unavailable, there are times when there might be a different button, a ‘CTRL-M’ button – CTRL-M for “make-up”; not to undo but to make up for the mistakes done in life.

Peter was afforded such a CTRL-M button when he denied the Lord Jesus Christ three times. The Lord handed Peter his CTRL-M button when he asked the latter three times to “feed my sheep” (John 18:15-18, 25-27; 21:15-19).

Similarly, Saul was given a CTRL-M button to make up for his fierce persecution against the Christian church. The Lord commissioned him to be his apostle to the Gentile world. Saul readily accepted it even though it meant that he now had to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:15-16).

As we reflect on our lives today, we may be thinking of the regrets of our past. We may not have the magic CTRL-Z button to undo them or to erase them. But do we have the CTRL-M's – the opportunities to make up for the wrongs we made advertently or inadvertently? If we have, let us seize them and use them in every way possible to make up for those infractions, big or small. If we have said something falsely about someone, we can recant that untruth and speak what is true and at the same time seek forgiveness from that certain someone. If we have been mean to our children because they do not perform to our expectations, we need to turn the corner and love them all the more despite their shortcomings. If we have not been pulling our weight in church, then we have to consider how we can adjust our priorities so that we can contribute and punch with the others who are giving their all to the cause of Christ. The Lord Jesus needs all of us.

In closing, I like to remind everyone of this one truth: The Lord our God is indeed a loving and compassionate God. Even though we do not have the CTRL-Z's for each and every wrong we have done, we may have the CTRL-M's to make up for some of those wrongs. Let us use these CTRL-M's whenever they are handed to us. But there is a particular CRTL-Z, which the Lord our God has so graciously thrown at us:

     “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.
     “Though your sins are like scarlet,
     they shall be as white as snow;
        though they are red as crimson,
     they shall be like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18).

Thanks be to God for this CRTL-Z. This CRTL-Z is the blood of Jesus. Have you reached out with your hands to receive it?tiny

 

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