About a month ago, I received an email that our business cell phone account had used all of its shared data. This was quite unusual, but since I literally hate to make phone calls to the customer service departments of large companies, I decided on a “wait and see what happens” approach.
And then a few days ago, in the middle of the following billing cycle, I received another one of those warnings. So at this point, I knew that I needed to make that dreaded call to get to the bottom of the “mysteriously disappearing data.”
I dialed the number and after pushing several numbers to get to a real, live person, I was pleasantly surprised to be connected to an English speaker that I was actually able to understand. She was quite friendly as I shared my problem and we started going over the bill together. She blamed the problem on an unauthorized change to our account that had happened almost a year ago and started trying to fix it. While I had my doubts that this was actually the cause of the “mysteriously disappearing data”, I also realized that this problem did need to be fixed so I let her do her thing. However, she didn’t really seem to know what she was doing exactly and I grew just a little more nervous as the minutes–very long minutes— ticked by.
After I had been on the call for over an hour, I finally told her that I had to go and asked if she would call me back or email me when she had sorted through it all. A half hour later I received a rather unsatisfactory email from her. A few moments after that, I received another notice that our data was almost 100% used up.
Obviously, whatever she had done had not solved the problem.
I really did not want to make another phone call to this company. I think I’d rather go to the dentist than make phone calls like this. They are long and time-consuming and generally very frustrating. I put it off for a short time. But the next day I decided I may as well get it over with as the problem–unlike the data– was not going to disappear.
This time, I ended up getting connected to a very nice lady who was also quite knowledgeable. Within a few moments, she had solved my problem and then handed me off to her supervisor to get the authorization for a very sizable credit that was due us.
Those two calls were like night and day. Literally. One phone call lead to over an hour of wasted time spent listening to an incompetent representative try to solve a problem that was way over her head. The second call was with someone who knew exactly what she was doing and she solved the problem efficiently and quickly.
This incident brought to mind a few spiritual correlations-
1. We cannot grow or change without a little self-examination. If we just live at status quo our whole lives we will not only remain baby Christians but will also reap the costly consequences of this choice. When we don’t examine ourselves, we are like our company with that phone bill–thinking everything is fine, when, unknowingly, something is really wrong and we are actually paying dearly (2 Corinthians 13:5).
2. Sometimes deeper, abiding issues come to light when we start examining our lives. I had no idea when I called about this more recent problem with our cell phone account, that there was also a completely separate issue going on. Actually, as we investigated our account thoroughly together, we found two other problems along with the original issue. This is true of our own self-examination, as well. Sometimes we will recognize a sin in our lives and when we start reading and studying the Word, other hidden and connected sins will come to light. For example, perhaps we struggle with being overweight. We know we shouldn’t overeat and we go to scripture for insight. In the process, we may come face to face with our own prideful heart as we discover the reason we really want to lose weight. Examination can lead to some real eye-opening moments.
3. Waiting can be costly. While the phone company gave me that nice credit for the mistakes of the past year, life, unfortunately, gives no credits. Emotional and spiritual harm compounds as we live in ignorance and can never be completely rectified. Only the Holy Spirit in a saved heart can take something so broken and heal it, but still there will be scars. It is wiser to deal with our sin issues immediately, rather than letting them smolder in the background of our lives.
4. Make sure you are talking to someone who knows what they are doing. How frustrating my first encounter was with the lady who thought she knew everything but didn’t really know anything. There are so many people who give counsel to us as we navigate life’s problems and yet so many have absolutely no idea what they are doing. So how do we know if they are someone who can help? The first test for me is always this question: Are they taking me to the Holy Bible? The Bible is God’s Word and it speaks to all of our problems. If the person who is counseling us is only using their personal experiences or their own human wisdom, they are probably not going to be much long-term help to the situation.
But we also need to remember that there is no person who will always give us perfect counsel. We are all flawed and born sinners. While people can– and often do–help us on our way, we need to seek our counsel first and foremost from God and His Word.
5. When we get connected to the right person, it is amazing how quickly a problem can be solved. I experienced nothing but frustration until I got connected to the lady who knew what she was doing. Our spiritual life is a little like this. We will experience no true victory in the Christian life until we are connected to Jesus. Until we repent and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we will remain separated from God (John 14:6). Upon this saving faith, we know that our prayers will be heard (I John 5:12-15) and we can fully expect God to work as we surrender our lives and wills to Him.
And so I guess that phone bill incident wasn’t a complete waste of time. After all, I got a whole post out of it. But I will be very happy if I don’t have to make another call like that anytime soon!