“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. [You can] come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:9-10
Here’s a true story; and it’s one that will be appreciated by the tens of thousands of perpetually perplexed Time Warner Cable subscribers around Wake Forest (and likely millions elsewhere).
A TW technician was working out at our house on a connectivity issue – just a week or so after our bill had mysteriously jumped by close to forty dollars. He was very helpful, got the immediate situation dealt with (construction had severed our cable), and was making sure everything worked.
“I’ve gotta tell you,” I said, “none of our wireless devices get a good signal unless we work in the same room as the router. Fact is, it used to be bad, but now it’s worse.”
“Let me look at the router,” he said. “Maybe I need to replace it with a newer model.”
So we go up to my study.
“Nope,” he said, shaking his head; “this is the best one we install. Bottom line, our equipment really sucks.”
So, for the first time since we’ve been here, we finally run into a completely honest technician. Kudos to him for that.
“So what’s the solution?” I asked.
“Honestly, you’d be better off boosting your wifeless signal with your own router,” he said.
“I don’t want to get you into trouble with Time Warner,” I offered, opening up my Amazon account as we spoke and offering him the chair, “but is there a particular model you recommend?”
He deftly negotiated the electronics section on Amazon.com, found a list of products, and clicked on a Jetsons era space-age gadget labeled, “WRT1900AC Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router.”
“My mom had exactly the same problem,” he said. “I tried every piece of equipment in the Time Warner arsenal, and nothing helped! Then I installed this for her, and it did the trick. If you get one of these you’d be able to stand out in the middle of the cul-de-sac or your neighbor’s back yard, and hook in with no problems.”
The new router arrived in two days, and was supposed to go under the tree as my big Christmas gift. But our wireless signal got so bad this week Rebekah couldn’t work in a comfortable location any more, so we decided Santa needed to come early.
I’m really not very good with tech stuff, so it took me a while to install; but – good grief – the result is amazing! However, I’m still letting Rebekah wrap the box it came in, so I’ll have something to open Christmas Day. My LINKSYS is working like a charm!
I often talk with people who feel like they are almost never really connected with God. Sometimes they can hook in at church, but the moment they head back into work, family, and recreation the signal seems to evaporate.
Tradition, nostalgia, family ties, and religious practice get folk to visit church on the occasional special Sunday, and a little more often around Christmas – but there’s just no strength or consistency to the signal. Christmas carols and candlelight offer warm feelings; nativities and events such as Walk Through Bethlehem stir some emotional response; taking communion leaves participants almost on the edge of experiencing something profound… but then there’s emptiness, and disappointment, and this vague feeling of loss when January comes around, and – again – the signal is gone.
Let me suggest that Jesus, walking with us day by day, is like the router that boosts the signal and keeps us connected. Christ isn’t just a sweet Christmas card scene we visit for warm feelings, then move on from and back to our real lives. Christ is an open invitation who is willing to step out of the tableau and into our daily life.
Jesus as companion and guide; Jesus leading us on a journey defined by hope, peace, love, joy, and promise; Jesus says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. [You can] come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:9-10).
Peace and promise – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.