Beyond “The Cloud”

I am sure we all remember the images of what we would perceive to be an angel or angels, hanging out on a cloud (which was meant to imply Heaven…I guess). Usually the angel was playing a harp (not a blues harp….that’s a different picture) or shooting arrows of love at someone’s heart. While I am quite sure that is part of what angels actually do (Ok…not really…just funnin’ a bit)…for this week’s post, I want to focus more attention on that cloud, not the angel.

One of the things I find amusing with the passing of time, is how the meaning or general perceptions of certain words change over the years. I talked about this in my book, “Unlocking Creation.” The word “bad”, for instance, used to mean “not good.” Now it can actually mean “really good” in some settings and circumstances. “Cold” and “hot” were generally considered references to the weather or the temperature of food. Now “cold” can imply someone is “mean” or “evil” and “hot” can mean someone is really good looking or that a certain person or subject is very popular at the moment. And “love”, well that word used to be major league to the point that people (especially men…I get it) were actually afraid to say it until they were absolutely sure, because once you said it, everything changed from that moment forward. Now the word has been reduced to what it actually means in tennis, where “love means nothing,” and people now use it for everything, their favorite tv show, a movie, a band, a good book, a pair of shoes, a hat, you name it. Love has been reduced to what “like” used to mean, a certain fondness or something pleasurable. Is it any wonder that marriages, then, are failing at record rates? I know I’m not surprised.

The word “cloud” is another one that has taken on a drastically different meaning in recent years. Now when you hear it, you don’t think of angels playing harps. You generally think of a place, which for all we know could be in mid-air somewhere or out in space, where all of our digital information and communications are being stored…aka “cyberspace”.  Right now, I am writing these words on a cloud. If and when you read this post, you will be reading it from a cloud. Hopefully that will be on a relatively clear day, not a rainy day, because it is much easier to read black print on a white background, rather than a grey one…..just sayin’.

The world was quite different back in 1975 when the first “personal computer,” the MITS Altair 8800, came out. Then, a year later, an upstart company named Apple introduced the Apple I (both of these were kits you had to build yourself). And then five years later, in 1981, IBM came out with the first IBM PC…and it was off to the races. Of course these early machines were basically electronic typewriters and adding machines. They really did not do too much, other than that. Ok..there were a few games, but nothing to skype home about. There was no personal internet access to be had back then. That didn’t really catch on until about ten years later, in the early 90s, when programs like AOL (which was really “America On Line”…remember that?) became popular. Then it was another decade and a half until the first iPhone hit the market in June of 2007 (hard to believe it has only been ten years, right)? From that moment on it was “Katie bar the door.” By the time a new product was released to the public, it was already obsolete. That is how quickly technology was changing.

Also, in the beginning stages of personal computing, our digital information was stored right on our computer’s hard drive. Once the interent became popular, we could transmit our data via a modem connected to our telephone lines. But, the data was merely being sent from our computer to another. As we stepped into the 21st century, the world took another giant leap from using home computers with larger and larger hard drives needed for storing larger and larger amounts of personal digital information, to what we now all “cloud-based computing” where more and more developers are creating apps (i.e. programs) that allow us to connect directly to a huge computer, called a server, and we can do the same work and store it all online. This has made us less dependent on software and the available memory space inside of our own personal computers and phones. And this allows us to work and save our work on these massive servers. I like to think of it as “tapping into a higher power.”

I’m sure, by now, you have probably guessed where I was heading with all of this computer chatter. Back at the dawn of creation, as God was speaking the universe into existence, He already had intended human beings to be able to interact with “a higher power” and believe it or not, even way back when, it was via a wireless connection. How about them apples, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gates?

From Day One, we were created with tons of “built-in apps” programmed to be able to both transmit and receive data from a “Master Server” (yep..I went there). It was not just possible to rely less and less on our own “internal intelligence” to solve problems and make decisions, it was also strongly suggested that we do not go it alone, if we know what’s best for us. Not only does interacting with this “higher power” we call God protect us from our own internal errors and memory crashes, in the present, it helps us with our past and future endeavors, as well.  I think that King Solomon may have actually forewarned us about these things, thousands of years ago:

Proverbs 3:5-6, 8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. [Proverbs 3:5-6, 8]

And not unlike the words of Solomon, I believe it brings healing to our bodies and refreshment to our bones (at least, less stress, anyway) to have our digital information stored safely “in the cloud” and always there when we need it, even if our computer or phone crashes and we need to get a new one. That’s valuable progress, I’d say.

So, how much more comforting should it be, then, to be able to place all of your past, present and future realities into the strong and secure hands of the One who designed it all and knows how it works best, in the first place. 

If you were in the process of making  a critical “life or death” medical decision for yourself or a loved one, and you had a chance to counsel with doctor or surgeon who was highly regarded and greatly qualified to give advice based on decades of experience in this area of expertise, wouldn’t you want to?

In addition to all of that, if 24/7/365 customer support was available to help you interact with and get the most out of this “cloud-based life application,” wouldn’t that be another great source of comfort and make you more willing to put your faith in it (or Him)? Well actually, there is. Here is what the Apostle John wrote about this, quoting  Jesus, Himself:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

There you have it. God not only offers us His wisdom, His advice and His help, He has given us a part of Himself, the Holy Spirit, as our personal mentor and helper. And to get connected, all we have to do is ask, just as Jesus promised us two thousand years ago:

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” [Luke 11:13]

Folks, what God is offering you through Christ is far beyond what any cloud (physical or electronic) or computer can offer. He is offering everyone of us the opportunity to become a child of the living God and to have a real and permanent relationship with Him that is far greater than any parent-child relationship the world has ever known.

Why anyone would not want that is beyond me….or should I say….beyond “the cloud.”

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