As preparations are made to celebrate Memorial Day, many are focused on finding the perfect food for the backyard barbeque or how that extra day off is going to be used. However, it is important for us to reflect on the true meaning of that day. The liberty and freedom that we have are a result of the hard work and sacrifice of our service men and women. Men and women like Cody, who diligently serve their country, even in the face of danger.
Bullets flew by the car and sparked off the street. Cody's mind was racing. This was no time for winging it. Failure meant death – for himself and the four men in his vehicle. As part of his preparation to be a Navy SEAL, Cody spent months in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in guerilla warfare, firearms, and survival skills. At this moment, it was time to test his preparation.
During drills, instructors had ambushed Cody's team with simulated gunfire, grenade launchers, tear gas, and artillery simulators. The goal was to create as much chaos as possible to force the would-be SEALs to focus only on the information necessary to accomplish the mission.
Cody focused. The Mercedes was carrying thousands of rounds of machine gun ammunition, grenade launchers, medical supplies, navigation equipment, and communications systems, not to mention the four men in the car who were relying on his training and skill to get them out of the situation safely.
Like Cody, men and women in uniform are serving our country – valiantly and selflessly - in lands near and far. They are traversing unfamiliar territory, dodging bullets and trusting God about who or what they will encounter around the next corner. The most appropriate one word adjective I can think of to describe our armed forces is "prepared."
What training will you rely on when your emergency comes? Will you trust God?
Cody knew the car was too overloaded to maneuver quickly. Gotta turn this rig around without flipping it over and making my guys sitting ducks – he thought. If he acted hastily and tried to spin the car too quickly it would easily flip.
Pop! Snap! Bullets were flying in the direction of his vehicle. Cody needed to back out of the street as fast as he could, then redistribute the weight of the vehicle away from the front of the car and spin the steering wheel 180 degrees while pressing on the clutch and shifting into first gear.
What manual has prepared you for life's emergencies? Will you rely on impulse, your "gut reaction," or God-preparation? What have you done recently to reach out to someone in your life who may need help or guidance to triumph through a crisis situation? "The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from is from the Lord" (Prov. 16:1).
In one movement, Cody pressed in the clutch, transferred the weight toward the back tires, spun the steering wheel, and swung the car around. He shifted, let out the clutch and gunned the Mercedes out of the street, around the corner and away from the line of fire.
Everyone in the car erupted with screams, "You da man! They can't get us now!" The radio snapped on. "Is everybody okay? Anybody hit, commander?"
"We're okay," Cody said, dazed.
Thank God emergency driving was part of Cody's advanced training. Cody's trainers recognized that he would eventually face an emergency of this magnitude and that he needed to be prepared to protect himself as well as those around him.
God has provided us with the tools necessary to triumph through tough times. It is our responsibility stay prepared – to study the Bible, God's manual for life, and to pray and worship regularly. Next, we must be ready to rely on that preparation, allowing God to direct us through our moments of crisis.
I challenge you to identify one area of weakness in your character that may lead to disobedience when times get tough. Perhaps it is your temper (Ps. 4:4); anxiety (Phil 4:6-8); or use of bad language (Eph. 4:29). Memorize the appropriate verse as a tool to help you get it right when everything around you is falling apart.