This is a draft:
Perhaps a stretch…
But hear me out and lets see where this goes…
I really loathe tech support calls. You know the ones you have to make when your home internet goes out for three days and doesn’t rise from the grave. Most of us have been there and I am sure can relate. After having to make one of those calls this recently, I mentioned to one of my friends of my hatred of these calls. My friend sympathized.
Here’s my biggest gripe with them: it is always a robot automated answering machine that walks you through fixing your internet problems.
“If you are calling about paying a bill or starting a service, press 1. If you are calling about the current status of your account, press 2. If you are calling for technical supp…”
“In order to help you, we will need to pull up your account information, please say or type in your account number”
(Damnit, I don’t know where my account number is right now…)
[Minutes of scavenging pass. Enters account number]
“Thank you. Did you know that most technical issues can be resolved by resetting the modem or router. Please follow these steps to reset the router.”
(It’s not like I haven’t tried this yet. It doesn’t work… That’s why I am calling. Just give me an actual person to talk to… I’m dying here)
Perhaps you see where I am going with this already. Good! It is exactly where I am taking it.
What happens in almost every case? We could care less, if at all, about the automated response system. We want a person—a real human being. We know full well that the problem cannot be resolved by a simple reset. You unplug the modem for 25 seconds, plug it back in, and wait for the lights to come on again. It didn’t work so you try it again, only this time, you leave it unplugged for 45 seconds. Still nothing. The online light just won’t stay a solid green and I need to check Instagram to see if that person has liked and seen my photo yet.
The modem or router is broken. But finally,
“… We have scheduled for a tech to come out to your residence tomorrow afternoon. Would that time work for you?”
“Yes, that is perfect!”
“It is our pleasure. Thank you for choosing us for your internet service. Is there anything else we can help you with today?”
“No, that is all. Thank God.”
“Uhh. Yes… Thank God…”
The tech support guy comes and inevitably replaces with the modem with a brand new one. I can breathe again. I can finally post that blog post about how the addiction to our iPhones is ruining our lives and our society.
In our own lives, there are countless problems we’d love to fix—broken marriages, friendships, loneliness, etc… Without a doubt, instructions work sometimes. Robert Farrar Capon, in his study of Jesus’ Parables, writes:
Direct, straight-line, intervening power does, of course, have many uses. With it, you can lift the spaghetti from the plate to your mouth, wipe the sauce off your slacks, carry them to the dry cleaners, and perhaps even make enough money to ransom them back… the beauty of [straight-line power] is, it works.
Straight-line power or, in this case, instruction works. However, it has its limits and it reaches those limits rather quickly. At some point along the conversation, I will want to beat my phone into the table because resetting the router a third time just won’t do the trick. Perhaps, in another case, I cannot seem to convince a friend enough that he is being stupid and needs to change. Nothing in my power could bring that modem back to life or that friend to have an epiphany. Even in my own life, I can barely incite any change. Morning devotionals turn into afternoon devotionals then evening ones, and eventually they stop. Our problems were far more internal than any technical bandaid solution could fix. The Law was not enough.
We craved the presence of a person to hear us and see our problems and our brokenness. Not only that, our problem required someone to actually show up in person to fix everything. However, more often than we think, the tech support guy still isn’t able to fix the modem, to which we answer with despair.
Fortunately, in life and death, there is someone greater than any tech support. We have one person who doesn’t just pick up our calls only to give us a list of things to do in order to solve our problems. God sends an actual person, Jesus, who comes to us at our worst and fixes everything.
This is going to sound pretty damn cheesy, but, in death, he gives us his perfectly working modem in place of our severely broken one. The light is a solid green again. Similarly to what Jesus says to the woman at the well, go and live.