Shuffling chairs on the Titanic

There’s an expression – shuffling chairs on the Titanic – that is meant to express frustration and futility.  The idea is that the task is pointless because the ship is going down and it doesn’t matter what seat you’re sitting in.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration to use this expression to sum up my summer – really most of my year – but I do feel as if I’ve put a lot of effort into some futile tasks.  I’ve written some about my illness this summer (and one of those posts was lost in a server move – see below.)  The short version is that I was diagnosed with colon cancer this summer.  Two operations, almost a week in the hospital, and lots of bills for my insurance company to pay and I’m pleased to say that I’m cancer free.  Praise the Lord for this and for providing great doctors to take care of me!

The strange thing about this summer is that my struggle with cancer hasn’t been my frustration.  I didn’t enjoy surgery or all of the doctor’s appointments and I’m still physically recovery from losing 18 inches of my colon a month ago.  However, I always had complete faith that everything would be alright in that regard.

My frustration and sense of futility actually comes from my web ministry.  About two months ago I decided that I needed to upgrade my servers.  Spreading Light Ministries has become a network of sites totaling more than two dozen domains and each year I’ve been adding half a dozen more or so.  This meant that it was time to upgrade.  Unfortunately my upgrade was a disaster.  Things were sold to me as an easy switch from one system to another.  After they already had my money I discovered that things were not an easy switch and I never would have agreed to such an upgrade if I knew it required me to manually move my sites and reconfigure each one.  This required about three days of constant work.

To make matters worse, my upgrade was anything but an upgrade.  My new server just didn’t work right and my sites kept becoming inaccessible.  Tech support was good when I called them but things kept crashing about every other day and I didn’t feel as if I should be required to inform them of a problem that they should be monitoring.  In the end I just couldn’t stick with the service as it was far too unreliable.  I ended up switching to a new company that I had done business with before but not for servers.

My new server has been much more reliable and I’m feeling comfortable with where I am at.  However I am still not 100% back to where I was two months ago.  A few files were lost because I restored my backups from June and anything that I had written since then was inaccessible with the crummy server.  If it seems like I’m venting a bit of frustration, well I am.

Christians are not immune to frustration.  It doesn’t mean that we lack faith.  It doesn’t mean that we question God’s goodness.  It simply means that we are human and we live in a fallen world.  Last week I preached that God is still good and I really do believe that despite fighting cancer at a young age.  But we all get frustrated at times.

I have taken this new server move as an opportunity to update a few sites.  Some of it is a necessity and some is just practicality.  But the truth is that I’ve been doing a lot of work and I haven’t really been able to create anything new.  Two months have gone by and there is really nothing to show for it despite all of my work.  That is why I feel like I’m shuffling chairs on the Titanic.

Fortunately, I don’t believe that I’m on a sinking ship.  In the end, this will be more like changing the wall colors in a room that otherwise didn’t need to be painted.  Perhaps it was unnecessary but at least I’ll have a new, brightly colored room in the end.  At least that’s the goal.  Hopefully in a week or two and things move into fall, I’ll have some new great content to add once again.  And hopefully this will be the last digital move that I have to make in a long, long time.

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