Helping Boomer

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My daughter loves me, but when I forlornly cry out, “Katy?” I can almost hear the rolling of her eyes. When she hears, “Katy?” there is something pathetic in my tone that communicates, “‘Boomer’ is facing a technological trial.”

Perhaps like other Baby Boomers, I am clueless when it comes to sorting my computer, cell phone and television settings and other related techno-challenges. My phone has all kinds of apps which I’m sure I never intended to download, and my computer’s email settings are forever changing due to my ineptness. And remembering passwords? Shame. It’s claimed by some that it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. That might by true, but I am sure it’s too late to teach “ol’ Doug” new ones. Perhaps that is why Katy has begun to wear ear plugs when I’m at home.

This morning, the printer in my office was once again not working. I am sure it is on its last legs, and therefore it constantly gives me problems. I have tried restarting it, I’ve examined it for jammed paper, and I’ve inspected it for obvious faults. Yet, all to no avail. And in spite of Stuart advising me long ago that the printer had outlived its usefulness, I tried once again today to use it. Per usual, the red warning light flashed in cadence with its futile effort to grab the paper and print. But then I remembered a repair skill I had not yet attempted: slapping it on its side, lifting and shaking it, followed by setting it down on my desk with some force.

Having utilised these highly developed skills, the red light stopped flashing, and I printed to my heart’s content (with a certain degree of shameless pride as well). But, all kidding aside, this Boomer was reminded that sometimes all that is needed is a gentle but persuasive encouragement and all will be well.

As I revelled in my “striking” success, I thought about how I have often benefitted from a “slap” and a “shake.” The red light of my disobedience and failed output in my service to Jesus Christ has often been helpfully overcome by the Lord lovingly giving me a “shake.” God’s wise hidings have often put me back into a working and productive position. Indeed, they have brought forth the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

Perhaps it was a sermon, or a sentence in a book, jarring my conscience and helping me to live out my discipleship. Perhaps it has been a friend that has rebuked me. Though initially shaken, it resulted in a needful readjustment of an attitude or action. God has used enemies as a force, which has caused self-examination resulting in my output improving. And in recent months, the slap and the shake associated with the coronavirus has been a means of grace towards restoring me to “working order.” Perhaps you can relate.

The writer of Psalm 119 declared, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep your word” (v. 67). In other words, his straying was met with a “shake,” which returned him to the Scriptures and to the Shepherd (see v. 176).

One day I will discard my worn-out printer, but thankfully our Saviour will never do so with me. Rather, he will continue to shape me, often through shaking me up, so that I will be productive for his glory, being conformed to his image. “Helping Boomer” is his commitment, because making Boomer holy is what he died for (Ephesians 1:4).

Brother and sister in Christ, let us cry out to our Lord for help. He has the touch to restore us to working order.

Being restored with you,

Doug