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A Bug’s Life

Let me tell you what bothers me. Roaches. Not those little ones that hang out in the bathroom. I’m talking the big jobs that rise up on their legs and run faster than I can stomp. I’m talking about roaches that can whip a cat—right now, whip a cat.

At night, when I pull into the driveway and raise the garage door, several of these behemoths run out from under the door. I tried driving over one of them once. He was so mad about the tire tracks on his shiny back he nearly tipped the car over.

I called an exterminator to come out the next day. He fought nobly, and was a good man. Left behind a wife and two small children.

Dianne, Honey the dog, and I are fighting a delaying action until cold weather, at which time we will retake the garage. The good news is roaches are vulnerable during cold weather. The bad news is they got that big in five months.

While I’m optimistic about our siege on the garage, I’m disconcerted about news of a possible bug infestation in the computer. I’m not sure if it is roaches, ants, or spiders, but the word is these bugs hatch on January 1st. I’m not sure how this can be since January is the middle of winter—must not be roaches.

These computer bugs have several aliases: The Y2K bug, the millennium mess, the year-2000 problem, the end of the world; or as others are calling it, a glitch, a bump, nothing to worry about. At least no one has called it the Y2K roach, so there is every reason to hope.

Here’s the lowdown on the computer bug: At the turn of the century, many computers won’t know it is 2000. It seems some computers were programmed without numbers designating the century. In other words, there is no "19" in front of "99" and no "20" in front of "00." The problem is that the bug will make the computer think 2000 is really 1900. While this would appear to be the fountain of youth Ponce de Leon searched for, the fact is, you, your bank account, your car, your children, your social security, and your ATM card didn’t exist in 1900. If some analysts are right, everything from your IRS return to your automatic coffee maker will go bonkers with bugs at the upstroke of the new millennium.

Our best minds are studying this: Professors, computer programmers, soothsayers, historians, theologians, managers, financial analysts, politicians (they should help clear up the confusion), survivalists, and cab drivers have all been procured to assess the problem. Some claim the end of the world is imminent. Others are predicting only minor bumps. The conclusion is: Our greatest minds can’t agree.

But what if? What if the Y2K bug is not a bump? What if the bug is a roach bigger than Orson Wells could concoct? It will signal the end of our world as we know it. Government will cease to function (which is less than it currently functions). Economies will collapse. Supply and demand will revert to bartering and anarchy will prevail.

Fear. Anxiety. Distress. None of the gurus can assure us these varmints will be injected into life at the stroke of midnight about three months from now—and none can assure us they will not either. The millennium is impending, the bug is waiting for winter, and we don’t know what to expect.

I don’t purport to know what Saturday, January 1st holds, but I do have this perspective to contribute: I have a friend who has already lived through January 1, 2000. He knows all about that fateful day. As a matter of fact, He lived through the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the great depression, and the oil crisis. He transcended the collapse of communism, the Cold War, the war to end all wars, and the second war to end all wars. None of these events were significant enough for Him to single them out for discussion. It isn’t that God doesn’t care about our calamities, He simply chooses to respond by offering age-old advice wrapped around a permanent promise. "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" (Mt. 14:27). "I will not leave you" (Jn. 14:18).

Of course, you know who I’m talking about. My friend is your friend as well. He is the ancient of days, the beginning and the end, the power, understanding, and wisdom of God. He is the one born, crucified, and resurrected before the foundations of the world were laid. God incarnate, our high rock, our refuge in time of trouble, our resource, our brother, our advocate, our friend. Age to age, He has lived through it all, and remains unchanged and unfazed. His confidence did not quaver when Rome fell and I doubt seriously He is fretting over the arrival of the new millennium. "Been there, done that—several times. Take courage. Don’t be afraid."

Perhaps the new millennium will feel like the mess the disciples were in when Jesus spoke His famous words. They were dying in a rogue storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus came, walking on the crests of the storm’s rage, and said, "I realize you are looking death-by-drowning in the face, but take courage. Today appears to be the end of your tomorrow, but take courage. I understand. You could lose everything, including your life. But take courage." And before they could ask "Why," Jesus answered, "Because it is I."

It didn’t seem to make any difference to Jesus whether the disciples were facing a glitch (e.g. their next meal) or the end of the world (e.g. the storm on the sea). Jesus’ advice was, "It is I; do not be afraid. I will not leave you." In other words, on a spectrum ranging from dinner to death, Christ declares He is all we need.

Why did Jesus tell His disciples—and that includes us—to not be afraid? The only explanation must be that we can control fear rather than being victimized by it. Jesus was addressing the state of mind His disciples had adopted. Because of their dire circumstances they had concluded God was no longer caring for them. Granted, if God leaves the scene, there is every reason to fear, but He has not gone anywhere and has no trips planned!

He has already seen the clock strike midnight on December 31, 1999 and sees no reason to leave His throne, take us home, or throw in the towel. If He doesn’t, why should we? He is in the midst of the storm! If we bolt and run it would appear to me that we are running from where He is.

Should you make plans for the new millennium? Read up on the subject? Prepare your family? Continue to look for opportunities to share His life? Absolutely! (See the footnote below as well as our LGI-action plan on page 4.) But to adopt a fearful state of mind is synonymous with concluding Jesus just disappeared into the trough of a big wave and didn’t come up for air.

Here is the bottom line: There are plenty of things that could spawn a rogue storm in your life before 01/01/00 arrives. Yes, you should consider the new millennium, but you should first consider today (ref. Lk. 12:22-34). If you step toward Christ in the tumult today you will be prepared to step toward Him on January 1st. Don’t miss the promises and opportunities of today looking for the future of tomorrow. He said, "I will not leave you."

With regard to the roaches in the garage, today we are spreading Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth as a first line of defense. I wonder. If it works on roaches, what would happen if we all sprinkled Boric Acid in our computers to kill the Y2K bug?

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.