Nov 12 2 Comments

The benefits of losing everything you wrote in one day


The trick is to fit thousands of words and hundreds of pages worth of knowledge into one small essay.

I am terribly late. In just 18 days (or it may be less by now. I just don’t want to think about it) I need to submit the biggest paper of the semester for my class. As always I have put off starting way too long, and now I am regretting it. Like a cartoon dog with ADHD I am throwing papers around, trying to find the perfect quote that can confirm that my thoughts are correct, if not genius.

Today was the day I was going to get a good solid introduction and some of the content down. For six whole hours I sat in front of the computer and resisted (sometimes) the urge to check Facebook instead of writing my thesis. Satisfied that I had 1/5 of my paper down at the end of the day, I decided to close the program. Bewildered as I tend to be at times, I told the program not to save my whole day’s work and in one nano-second it was all gone. I said some words that are better not repeated. I had to walk around the office for a while. I needed to take many deep breaths. I had to share my misfortune with some people who would tell me how sorry they were. Then I started all over and tried to re-write what I had written once already. The second draft wasn’t half as good, but I just don’t remember what it was that made the first draft so much better.

My one consolation in my deep despair is that having to start over again, I will know the material so much better. Boy, do I know about Psalm 103:6. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Having to rewrite so many Bible verses has given me more time to reflect on them, and to let God speak to my heart. At the end of the day I am more convinced than ever that God’s heart is justice. That he wants his people to care for the poor, the oppressed, the vulnerable, the downtrodden. We are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the sick, to invite strangers into our homes (not weird men on the street, but immigrants, refugees, homeless, lonely and perhaps sad people), to visit prisoners. As I remember from my first draft,  a Bible verse that told us to spend more money on stuff for Christmas or to get some more imported steaks at an exclusive restaurant was never mentioned. No, I am pretty sure there are no verses with that being the admonition.

I have a book next to me as I am doing research on human rights, advocacy and Christian faith. The book is called Generous Justice and is written by Timothy Keller. I would recommend it if you are serious about following God. And even if you are not, you may benefit from reading it. In it he says, for example:


Caring for these...

Caring for these…

If God’s character includes a zeal for justice that leads him to have the tenderest love and closest involvement with the socially weak, then what should God’s people be like? They must be people who are likewise passionately concerned for the weak and vulnerable. He continues by saying: If believers in God don’t honor the cries and claims of the poor, we don’t honor him, whatever we profess, because we hide his beauty from the eyes of the world.

Do I hear a WOW?





  • stevegumaer says:

    Reblogged this on Normal Is Over. and commented:
    A Generous Justice prevails, even though 6 hours goes down the tube.

  • Michelle Simpson says:

    Extraordinary that your blog came when it did because I just did the same thing. I spent the morning writing. It was not just the subject matter that was important, which was raising awareness again of the plight of the indigenous peoples of North America, but what that writing represented to me personally. After two years in the UK of having our ministry focus constantly compromised by events beyond our control, and dealing with the ups and downs of a doggedly-determined depression that has been a daily effort to shake off, I felt a new inspiration for the future and sat down to write. I had just completed it, but before I pressed the ‘save’ button (which I thought would also publish my work so I delayed pressing it), I wanted to check it with Stuart. I went to get the computer to show it to him and at that moment it crashed, losing everything I had done. My response was worse than yours and I won’t even tell you the details except to say that mine was directed at God and I wasn’t going to help anyone ever again. And then I saw your blog. And on top of my anger and disappointment at the loss of my work, I was now disappointed with myself and my reaction as well. You did better than me.

    I suppose the disappointment in myself, as well as the realisation that I wasn’t the only girl in the world whose writing was wiped off the screen this day, was good for me, because I cried. Crying, pitiful as it may seem, softened my heart, and that is better than being angry with God an the entire universe.

    Now, I have at least regained some presence of mind to think about how I am going to use the rest of this day productively and victoriously. Will I write any more today? I don’t know. You did, and that is another valiant response on your part. Well done. Despite a few unrepeatable words you employed at the time of losing your work, you remain such an inspiration! Whatever I choose to do, what are the benefits of losing all your work in one day? Well, you get to comment on someone else’s honest and well-timed blog post about the benefits of losing all your work in one day! That may not be a big achievement, but it fosters honest friendship, and gets me writing again, and those are good things. And your references to the scriptures on helping the poor and oppressed have inspired me to look at them again. So here’s to the rest of the day, a better heart, and somehow, even better writing. x