Three days in a row, every ATM machine that I went to had this haphazardly written sign, “Offline.”  

Funny how one word can spawn a school of negative subtexts:

Go away!
No money here.
I have your money, he-he. 
Try some other ATM.
Leave me alone.
Don’t bother me.
Can't you see I'm resting?
Take it or leave it.
End of argument. 
Plus many more

So you postpone buying and paying for life’s essentials till the ATM is online again.

In this digital age, we are at the mercy of machines. When they conk out, we cave in.

“Machines can never replace people,” we like to say. But people conk out, too.

Imagine driving through horrific traffic to have something urgent signed by someone someplace, only to be told that the person you need to see is out to lunch.

“But I called before coming! He promised he’d be here!”

So you wait, only to be jolted again by a message that the person fell ill and decided to go home. He has a message for you: “Could you please come back some other time?”

You wonder and worry when that “some other time” will come again. Meanwhile, you will miss a crucial deadline.

Machines, people—they can both be offline. Just as you would feel offline, too, fearful and dreadful after such frustrating tries and re-tries.

What a contrast to what we read in Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV), “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Let me paraphrase this in the context of the above frustrations: Don’t conk out nor cave in; I am always online.

Whenever I come to the edge of my wits over machines and people, I reach out for calming grace. It readily comes through verses upon verses in the Bible. This is just one of them.

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