Heartbleed: How Secure Are We?

Heartbleed – is there a more anxiety-inducing name for an internet security breach?

Recently we found out that since 2012 that little padlock next to the URL in your internet browser might not have been all that safe. That https:// actually didn’t mean every site using “secure browsing” was secure. It’s a complex techie problem so I will leave it to the techies to explain it, but the message anyone could understand from the frantic techie sites was CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS! Make them unguessable, make them impenetrable, make them random numbers and letters and symbols, and whatever you do, don’t use the same one anywhere – especially not on your bank accounts.

I’m not saying headlines like “The Ultimate Web Nightmare” should send us back to snail mail (or hand-written checks), but as internet users, Heartbleed has opened our eyes. We can’t assume we are safe.


So if we can’t trust websites or email accounts that claim to be secure, whom can we trust?

David answered the same question in his psalm:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

 – Psalms 20:7

Sometimes our sophisticated security measures fail us, and our best efforts at protecting our information end in a nightmare of calling banks and credit card companies. Sometimes the people that were supposed to protect us let in pain and frustration instead. Maybe bleeding broken hearts aren’t just a symbol of a technology flaw, but of betrayals, false promises and hypocritical behavior. Someone in our past or present who wasn’t who they said they were, a metaphorical https:// padlock with a hidden leak. A sin nature.

“Bugs” in life will always let us down. It’s part of living in a fallen world. And no, there is no way to know when or where they will come.

All we can do is protect our hearts without losing the very purpose of having a heart to begin with – to love. A wise friend recently shared with me that while it’s biblical to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), we also have to remain open to community, to discipleship, loving as we were created to love by finding our identity in nothing else but Jesus.

I like the way The Message puts it:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;

    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.

– Proverbs 3:5-7

When we “assume we know it all,” that we have all our bases covered and have our trust in the right things and people, that’s usually when we find out just how shallow our foundation was. I have had my share of hurts from trusting in people who disappointed me when they didn’t turn out to be perfect (Imagine that!) and had to readjust the source of my security. I knew finding a “security leak” in a relationship could lead me to harden my heart, so I fought hard to remain open to others and resisted the temptation to “go it alone.” I had to listen to God’s voice with discernment each time before I shared a piece of my heart with others. But I would never find peace in trusting others (who, being just as sinful as I am, will always let me down) until I had complete trust in God, “from the bottom of my heart.”

How’s it going? I’m still working on it. I suppose I always will.

But hopefully, next time a “bug” of life shows me something or someone I can’t trust, it won’t plunge into a Heartbleed-like panic. Every day I make the choice over again – my trust is not in the “chariots and horses” of this world, but in the only One who can really be trusted – the name of the Lord our God.



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