Reverend Richard Meningsbee searched for an hour for a computer he knew was gone.
It was impossible it could be any other place than where it had been left, but to fulfill righteousness and drain off some angst, he scoured the house.
It was nowhere to be found.
He spent the rest of the day, when he should have been preparing his Sunday morning sermon, conjuring images of what might have happened to his P.C.
Was Katrina involved?
Was it stolen by an agent of the USBN?
And more frightening was considering what they wanted.
Ninety-nine percent of what he had on that magical box was common drivel or ecclesiastical notes. It was that one percent that terrified him–and each new flashback was more injurious to his mind than the previous.
Surviving a restless night, he made his way to church, and decided that the only way to cleanse his soul of the pain and anxiety was to share–not in detail, but in principle.
So he stepped in front of the congregation and began.
“I feel attacked. Do you ever feel attacked? In my case, I feel attacked by circumstances–just the everyday happenings that seem to have suddenly decided to target me and take me down. This attack is causing me to worry. Like most human beings, I worry about the future. What will this attack mean going forward? Can I overcome my circumstances and achieve some form of victory–or at least draw a stalemate with the evil that taunts me? And most certainly, I feel betrayed. Not so much by others, but betrayed by my own weakness–a hounding dog barking at my heels, reminding me that I am insufficient. So I come before you this morning attacked, worried and betrayed.
Yet in the midst of all this is an abiding faith which says ‘nothing can separate me from the love of God’ and that ‘all things will work together for my good.’
I must be honest with you. Those voices are softer and gentler than the screaming attack of the worried betrayal. But if I get quiet and still, I can hear the whisper of faith. So that is what I am going to do right now. I’m going to stop speaking and just allow myself to listen as I kneel.”
Meningsbee walked to the altar rail, which had basically become a decoration in the modern-day church–a reminder of past revivals, when people allowed themselves to be overtaken by the goodness of God.
He knelt and prayed.
He prayed about his computer.
He prayed about the hidden iniquity displayed on the browser.
He prayed to be forgiven for his weakness.
So intently did he pray that he failed to recognize that he was suddenly surrounded by nearly all the congregation, as they, too, gathered to admit the attack had brought worry and betrayal to their lives.
God had taken the evil that had befallen the community and was now using it to make good.
It was a warm, kind, tear-filled morning that culminated with everyone embracing and encouraging one another.
Reverend Meningsbee was heartened by the experience, but still in the throes of a deep depression as he made his way home.
Stepping inside, he opened the door and gazed into his little office–and there it was.
The computer was back.
“Where have you been, my friend?”