In 1981, David Bradley was part of a team building IBM's new personal computer. Back in the days, programmers had to manually restart the entire system whenever the computer encountered a coding glitch.
Bradley was fed up with the tedious memory tests following the restart so he decided to create a keyboard shortcut that triggered a system reset without the memory tests. Ctrl-Alt-Del was born.
This keyboard combination was initially for internal use only and not intended for the end-users, as it rebooted the computer without any warning or confirmation. But when Bill Gates adopted the same key combination to log into Windows operating systems for Microsoft, the command became an integral part of the user experience. Bradley later joked: "I may have invented Ctrl-Alt-Del, but I think Bill made it famous."
When was the last time you've used Ctrl-Alt-Del in your life? I like the idea of rebooting life and starting over on a fresh canvas. I also wonder how often God uses Ctrl-Alt-Del on our lives without prior notice? After all, many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19 verses 21).
The Church often finds change very difficult and uncomfortable. Why is it so hard to just Ctrl-Alt-Del and let God lead the way? When God said "I change not", it does not mean we should respond with "Neither do we!"
God's unchanging nature is His character, and one of His characteristics is making things new. How do we know this? The Bible is filled with the promises of new: a new creation, a new heaven and earth, a new song, a new spirit, a new heart, a new covenant, a new commandment and the list goes on.
The Bible also tells us many stories of people who embraced change for God. Take Noah for example. God told him to build a huge ark and he's never done it before! What about Nehemiah? No one would have imagined rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem during the exile. But Nehemiah had the vision and handled it with prayer.
Abraham left his native country and family, not even knowing where he was going. Paul was on his way to persecute Christians then God told him to join them instead! These are huge changes with huge implications, the Ctrl-Alt-Del moments in history.
Change that matters
Perhaps coming to Christian maturity is change. But I don't mean embracing any change. What I mean by change is the mindset and lifestyle that are pleasing to God.
In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan put it this way: “People who truly follow Jesus care about the Kingdom, live lives that connect with the poor, do things that don't make sense in terms of worldly success or wealth, will seek humility not recognition, take joy in loving people, will be known as givers, not takers, will orient their lives around eternity; and will be characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God.
Isn't choosing to be changed an absolute necessity of entering into God's Kingdom? Cardinal Newman once said: "To live is to change, and to live well is to change often." In other words, if we always do what we've always done, we will always get what we've always got?
As another year is drawing to a close, how about spending some quiet time in prayer? Might this be a good time to Ctrl-Alt-Del and reboot life?
Ctrl-Alt-Del. I'm signing out and rebooting for 2019.
*** This article was originally published in 2013.
Daniel Jang is an itinerant artist who enjoys painting a big tree on his canvas for the glory of God. His work may never be enough, but he continues with his job one day at a time.
Daniel Jang's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-jang.html