It happened a few years ago.
Our family has always been computer friendly. Having two or three in the house is normal. Accessing email, the Internet, and various software programs has been common to us for a long time. So when the main computer (the one my wife primarily uses) got a virus, it wasn’t just some little inconvenience.
It began small. It would create annoying pop-up windows as different websites were accessed. Then the pop-ups became more frequent. Some were advertisements. Others would inform us of a software update for programs we had. They ‘looked’ authentic but she was skeptical and would just close them. After a while, it got worse.
It got to a point where the pop-ups were prohibitively frequent; every few seconds. And the ones that offered software updates wouldn’t let you continue if you closed them. They declared that the updates were ‘critical.’ Then, a series of pop-ups appeared proclaiming our computer had a virus and if we wanted it fixed, we should click the link it provided to download a program (that wasn’t free) to clear everything up.
The computer became unusable. Our everyday tool, upon which we relied, had been seized. We tried running scans with the various virus programs we had. Nothing worked. We were told that the virus had gotten deep into the computer’s registry and would take time and effort to clean it out. The local computer stores offered services to resolve the issue … for a not so nominal fee. All seemed hopeless and we talked about just getting the hard drive wiped clean and basically starting over.
Except … my wife is a woman who doesn’t like to be pushed around. She was determined to get her computer back from the evil menace that had invaded her technology world. So she looked up the symptoms she was experiencing (using my laptop). She found information that pointed to a particularly invasive (and downright nasty) virus that would embed itself on your computer and then … self-replicate. Thus, when you thought you had it removed from one place, it would allow you the feeling of momentary victory and then reappear later.
She began researching how to remove this virus from the computer’s internal registry (this from a woman who, although extremely bright and well educated, has no formal technology training). But she was determined to learn whatever she needed to in order to defeat this ‘thing.’
It took over six months. But she was relentless. Even if it would have been easier to just wipe the hard drive, or even buy another computer, she was not going to let this thing beat her. It was personal now. She sought the advice of others who had dealt with this virus before; gaining insight from their experience. She would sit for hours at times, going through the computer’s registry line by line. She was amazed at how deep the thing had infiltrated our computer. She even commented on the programming intelligence required to create something so vast.
After MUCH time and effort … victory! Our computer was free of the enemy. Several scans, ones that had continually showed the virus’ presence, now were clear. Normal use of the computer was possible once again. Another example of something I’ve learned in our over twenty eight years of marriage. To get on my beloved’s bad side can get one hurt real bad.
Sin works the same way. It starts small as just an annoying compromise that we ignore or tolerate. Then, it grows until the normal operation of our Christian walk isn’t possible. And the only solution sin provides is to go down the path it suggests. Following its solution to a problem it created.
Yet no stain is beyond God’s power to wipe clean, no matter how deeply entrenched. And when we partner that power with a defiant determination to follow Jesus, the enemy’s defeat is certain. It also helps to turn to someone wise in the Lord to bring needed insight. They can help you see that your issue, whatever it is, hasn’t only happened to you. Others have dealt with the same thing and done so victoriously. With focus and prayer, the joy and peace that should be our daily norm can be restored.
A year later, the virus reappeared. This time, it was gone in just a few weeks.
This true story is dedicated to my amazing and lovely wife!
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