Thursday, December 15, 2005



By Janice Price

If the power goes off abruptly, the computer goes off too, and valuable information or files can be lost. This is why when my brother first loaned me a computer, he provided a battery back-up (UPS) with surge protection with it. It eventually bit the dust and I picked up the only type available at the local Wal-Mart, a little 350 VA, 200 Watt battery.

From the moment it was installed, it complained, always popping up a little window to let me know it wanted to upgrade to the next size - a 500 VA, 300 Watt model - or it did not have enough power to hang on by its three-pronged plug when the power would go off. And the electricity used to go off/on/off/on fairly often.

In a blink of an eye, the battery would drop from fully charged to seven minutes, or even one minute of battery time, and in the blink of the other eye, it would exhibit signs of mechanical mania. Boxes would start opening, warning me there was not enough power to shut down Windows, and suddenly Windows was sedated into hibernation.

After two years of this, my brother agreed to pick out a new battery for me. It arrived and I opened the package to stare at a 1000 VA, 600 Watt power protection unit. Now, this battery won’t wimp out in an emergency. At least it wouldn’t if I could get it to work.

I spent hours on it last night, with the directions, a light and a magnifying glass, tracking all the cords and wires to make sure they were all plugged in correctly. The speakers and DSL modem had to be plugged into a separate surge protector. There were only two places for the three phone cords from the old battery. How did I decide which two to use? That was easy. The two that fit. But the third cord was a modem cord. It was important too. Oh, well.

By three a.m., everything was attached and the software was loaded, but there was no battery in the computer hardware list and no communication between the battery and Windows. I had a program that opened, smiled at me and said everything was fine and dandy, but it was lying through its remote port.

First thing this morning I uninstalled and reinstalled the battery software. I pulled the plug on the battery several times. It would sit there beeping. The computer didn’t crash, but it didn’t shut down either. Nothing I tried could resolve the problem. The computer is reconnected to the old UPS.

This is the kind of equipment my brother Doug would enjoy. (He just might get it for Christmas.) But I have no doubt he will pop in one of these days, take one look at the new battery and transfer everything onto it without ever looking at the directions. This time the software will load properly and the battery will communicate with and monitor the computer.

Why will he be successful when my attempts ended in tears over my failure? Unlike Doug, I was born without the technical/mechanical gene, and no amount of reading or study can penetrate deep enough for me to understand how machinery works. I struggle to grow in knowledge on the computer, something that “comes natural” for him.

One of the reasons I spent many years in the pre-grace Worldwide Church of God was because I thought I was too dumb to understand the Bible without someone more spiritual-minded explaining it to me. There is still so much I don’t understand, but now I trust God to reveal what I need to learn, using whatever method He chooses at the moment.

I don’t remember the minister of the church I attended as a child being question-friendly or preaching much about the Holy Spirit, and I did not understand I was born with a human spirit and no amount of reading or study without the Holy Spirit could penetrate deep enough for me to understand the Bible.

It occurred to me today after wrestling with the UPS, if we are properly “plugged in” to God as our power source and running the companion software of Christ, the Holy Spirit monitors our hearts to keep the communication free-flowing and alerting us to possible power failures.

I thought the hours invested with the new UPS were time wasted, but amazingly God has used this failure to remind me of what is important.

God gave us Jesus, His Son - the Living Word of God. We have the opportunity to understand the written word of God because Jesus the Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem to a young girl and her husband.

Even though we don’t know the exact date of his birth, we celebrate it on December 25th. So, Happy Birthday, Jesus! And Merry Christmas to all!

© 2005 Janice Price

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