On Wednesday as I was heading to class, carrying way too much stuff, I dropped my laptop. I could feel it slipping from my arms but it was too late to do anything about it and I just had to watch as it bounced off the pavement. The battery literally popped out when it hit (it landed on an edge) and the DVD-rom drive burst open as well. After I collected and put it back together my first priority was making sure everything was okay.

When I got class I plugged it in and powered it on…nothing on the monitor. Interesting, the lights had all come on as normal and the fan had started to- scratch that, the fan just turned off. A few seconds later the whole system powered itself off. Of course at this point I’m praying to Jesus that it works, it has all of my notes from seminary as well as all the current things I’m working on, on it without an external backup. I tried it again checking everything that I can see, but the result was the same.

Needless to say I was very, very frustrated with myself for the rest of the class, and it was difficult to concentrate on what the prof was discussing. My bad attitude lasted through church that night and into the evening at work. My biggest concern was what I was going to do about a computer, and how I was going to get the data off of my laptop.

Being the geek that I am, and a self-confessed pack rat, I actually had a couple old laptops around the house. One is purely my Linux testing system. I would love to be completely Microsoft free, but there are some programs that I use (Logos anyone?) that are Microsoft only (well, Mac too but I can’t really afford to buy the cross-platform upgrade). Using that one was out of the question as the battery in it is pretty well shot and won’t last for more than a minute without a direct power source. I also had the laptop before I got the now busted one but the hard drive on it was going out and wouldn’t boot to Windows.

Hmmm…I also had an old 80gb portal hard drive that I used for caring files around, such as music, pictures, etc, that I was no longer using because I had purchased a 300gb one last year. Ah ha! This is one of those rare times when being a geek, and a pack rat really helped.

What I did was take the hard drive out of the now busted laptop. I then removed the failing drive from the old laptop and replaced it with the 80gb portable (portable drives are just laptop drives with an external shell). Using the casing from the old portable drive I put the 100gb drive from the busted system into it and I was able to pull all the data off the drive. The rest of the day was spent getting Windows XP installed on the old laptop and getting it updated (thankfully I had an SP2 disc around so it wasn’t too bad). Several hours later I had a functional system again and had all of my data easily accessible.

So where was God in all this? First I had to repent of my bad attitude. I was very frustrated and the people at church noticed. My wife had explained what had happened to a few people when I got there and they asked how it was when I showed up. Several times they keep asking me if I was okay. If I had taken a moment and thought about the situation I would have realized that it was just a computer. Did I have others at home? Yes. Would they be as nice as what I had? No, but they would function. So repenting was the first thing.

Second, I can see that God really provided by giving me the skills and knowledge necessary to overcome this obstacle. If I didn’t know how to do computer things I would have had to contact friends or family that did. We don’t have the money to pay for repairs and it would have taken at least a week to get fixed by either other method. But being able to do it myself only cost me a day without my system. Not really horrible.

Finally, God reminded me that it’s just a computer. It’s not as if I had lost an arm, or a child. There will be other computers, and things can always get worked out. After all in Luke 12:15 Jesus says,

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

After all, it’s just stuff. How about you; are you too attached to some things? Try letting go! It all belongs to God anyway!