Last night our internet service went down. Again. After a few minutes of troubleshooting, I quickly found out it was a widespread problem with our service provider. Then the tweets started.
Oh my stars. You’d think the world had ended because people couldn’t get on the Interwebs. The responses ranged from the mildly entertaining—”Please get your service back up, lest I have to actually talk to my family!”—to the childish (and slightly deranged)—”if your service ever goes down again I’ll burn your headquarters down.”
Reading through the feedback (thanks to Google’s handy-dandy public DNS settings), I was more than a little disturbed by the responses—in many cases, it seemed like a loved one had died. But thinking about the reactions I saw, I realized there are a couple of things Christians can learn from the reactions of others to life’s inconveniences and how we can choose to respond:
1. Inconveniences aren’t the end of the world. I had some work to do and was a bit peeved, but I found a solution to get over it. Some folks were more seriously inconvenienced (like freelance designers and such), but for the majority of us, it meant not being on Facebook for a few hours.
2. You can always do something else. Internet outages really just mean a chance to catch up on reading our Bibles, praying and spending time with our families. Take advantage of those opportunities!
3. Finding a new service provider is always an option. If your provider stinks, get a new one. There are a few out there (we’re considering this one)—and you may even save some money. (And let’s face it, financial stewardship is important.)
4. How you respond to inconveniences tells you something about your affections. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person,” Jesus warned us (Matt. 15:18). If an inconvenience like having no Internet connection sends you into a tailspin, what does it say about your heart? I’m not writing that as someone above the need to check his own heart—too often I’ve flown off the handle for something completely nonsensical. How we respond to inconveniences—even really frustrating ones like the “Rogerspocalypse” as the Toronto Star lovingly called it—says more about us than the one we’re upset with.
None of us wants to be an unnecessary stumbling block in the way of someone believing the truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. But how often do we consider our reactions in light of our witness? Is the grace of God reflected in our reaction—or are we more likely to be snarky and angry?
These are certainly not profound things we can learn from a (in the grand scheme of things) minor inconvenience, but hopefully they’re helpful.