Tag Archives: trust

Not Yet

Your promise still stands,

Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness.

I’m still in Your hands.

This is my confidence:

You’ve never failed me yet.

Elevation Worship has a song called “Do It Again” that is high on the CCLI and music app charts for the genre. It’s a strong tune with a driving beat and a lot of room to rock out with the worship band, yet the song also has a heartfelt, universally relatable theme, somewhat like a prayer:

God, this bad situation hasn’t changed yet, but I’m trusting You while I’m in the middle of it.

My wife and I both love the song, and I worked it into a testimony at church, relating a particular instance of God’s goodness to my family in the midst of a crisis (which I’ll share in another post).

However, my wife is not at all a fan of one word in the song: yet.

“God hasn’t failed us at all,” she explains, “and He’s not going to. We may not always get the answers we want, but God doesn’t let us down… and that word ‘yet’ makes it sound like maybe He might.”

I agree.

And yet…

To me, there’s this humanity, this frailty revealed in that wording. There’s a weakness that lurks in the lyrics just like it lurks in my heart, where even though I belt out that “This is my confidence: You’ve never failed me,” a little choked up voice adds a “yet” with a quiver or whimper.

Doubt whispers that maybe this is the one time. This is the exception. “Yeah, God came through before, but how sure are you?”

Maybe what I thought God was going to do isn’t what He has planned. Maybe the storm isn’t going to miraculously clear up and the waves aren’t going to suddenly fall into calm. Maybe He’s not going to say, “Peace, be still” this time.

I do have a testimony to share about how God met me and my family at a point of desperation and need. I have plenty of evidence of His goodness expressed through others and through sudden changes in our circumstances.

But I also see some dark clouds of the unknown looming over me, and the horizon is dimmed by billowing storms of delayed answers to prayers. It feels like as soon as one batch of questions and concerns are resolved, they tag new ones into the ring.

I apologize as I’m vaguebooking a bit here (we’re not on Facebook, so, blankblogging? blurposting?) mainly because I don’t even know all the questions or details of some of what’s on my mind.

One of the memory verses I am reviewing this week is Isaiah 41:10. It feels more appropriate than I would like.

“’Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I also relate all too well to the man who–in response to the assurance that with God, all things are possible–cried out, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

Surely He helps us in times like this. Great is His faithfulness, and His promises still stand. He’s never failed me…

Yet.

God's Gifts Make a Way

This is the third of five “God Leads” devotionals based on my experiences as a young Christian man in the military.

GOD MAKES A WAY FOR HIS GIFTS IN US

…According to your faith be it unto you. (Matthew 9:29, KJV)

“He’s so amazing,” I said. “I wish I could play and sing like him.”
Friends from church invited the singles over for spaghetti. While we ate, we watched a video of a musical minister leading worship from a piano. I started playing with our church worship team using one of this singer’s most popular songs.
“His lyrics minister so well,” I said. “They speak right to people’s needs.”
Our church bass player agreed with me.
The host looked us both in the eye. “I see God doing the same thing in you two.”
The bass player said what was on my mind. “Oh, no, not me. I couldn’t do that.”
The host stood up and declared, “Be it unto you according to your faith.”
I was shocked, frozen to my seat.
“Little faith, you reap little,” he continued. “Big faith, you reap big.”
The words echoed in my thoughts for an hour. I drove back to church long before the evening service and sat down at the piano.
“God, if that’s really something You’ll do, then… have Your way.”
I started playing. I chose a few chords, thought of some words, and sang. In two hours, I wrote four songs.
Since then, I started hearing music in my pastor’s sermons. I wrote over one hundred songs. We translated one into Japanese, and several became regular tunes at our church. I believed God, and He answered.
But I am also haunted by one thought, and I hope I’m wrong:
I never saw the bass player write any songs.

Application: Following God’s lead means taking chances and trusting Him for results.

Second Tirade

I was planning on only writing a positive “Here’s what I love about the military” Thursday Tirade this week. Then I was chatting with a friend and former co-worker, and I was (unfortunately) inspired.

So you get another Thursday Tirade, since the first one really wasn’t a tirade at all. Think of it like a Hobbit… you get Second Breakfast, or Rage Elevensies.

Today’s Tirade-word is “hypocrisy.” Here’s a hint: in a leadership position, you don’t want this word associated with you.

Seems obvious, but not everyone knows or understands this.

Servant leadership means – among other things – taking care of your people. One of the ways we do this is through open and honest communication. There’s nothing worse than playing “I’ve got a secret” with the members of an office or organization.

And some are smart as bricks too...
The old phrase is true of some leaders: “You make a better wall than a window.”

Open communication engenders trust. It aids with expectation management. The news may not be good for the person(s) affected, but at least they know what is going on. They can plan accordingly, and they know they can trust their leadership in the future.

Unfortunately, it seems like we often trade that long-term trust relationship and positive reputation in order to solve a short-term crisis. Someone gets deployed with little notice, and we tell them “You’ll be back in six months.”

Then, a month out, they get told they’re staying longer. Not only that, they and their spouse get told, “This was always the plan. You were going for nine months all along. You probably misunderstood.”

Congrats. You filled a short-term need and solved the huge “Who’s going out next month” problem. You did it at the cost of years of trust. Your people are not blind or stupid; they’ve seen what you’ve done, and they know not to believe you when it’s there turn to deploy or to fill a need. Not only that, but people talk. Your action seems to affect only one or two individuals, but those individuals are going to spread the story to others. Years from now, people are going to hear about you and immediately distrust your leadership.

What’s worse is when these “leaders” preach transparency and openness with their subordinates. “Don’t have a hidden agenda,” we are told, by an individual who is known for always having a hidden agenda. Did you think we weren’t watching what you do the rest of the year? Were we only supposed to listen to what you say today?

Open communication and a healthy relationship would mean that the person in charge gives the junior member all the information they need while both sides accept the fact that we’re in the military and plans can sometimes change.

I’ve had to call home from training TDYs to tell my wife, “Hey, this might be six weeks long or six months long depending on how they decide to do the flight portion of the training.” On day one, the person in charge came in to pound his chest and remind all the students that the training squadron alone would make all those decisions, so “don’t make any plans. We’ll let you know.”

So my wife is across the world with three kids, wondering whether I’ll be gone weeks or months. And on the last day of academics, the authority comes into the classroom and says, “Get tickets home. My plan all along was for you to do flight training back home.”

Really? Was that not valuable information? I’m a big boy. I understand if I get told, “The original plan was for you to go home but we can’t make that work, sorry.” Maybe keeping a secret helps you feel better about how “in charge” you are, but I never doubted whether you were in charge. I just wanted to be able to tell my wife what to expect. But for you to act like there is no decision, or keep all your plans to yourself when you can alleviate confusion and tension… and then to talk about transparency and clear communication… that’s hypocrisy.

We do this whenever we pay lipservice to a value or rule only so long as it suits us.

If you refer to regulations and guiding documents in one argument to win the discussion and justify your opinion, then you can’t turn around the next week and ignore those regs and guiding documents when they don’t say what you wish they did. That’s hypocrisy, and it’s blatant and obvious.

We can’t in one breath talk about the value of quality and for the rest of the discussion push for ways to get more production faster.

We shouldn’t be in the business of redefining words to wiggle out of what the regulations dictate, or reinterpreting clear direction in order to push (or ignore) the boundaries set upon us by leadership. If we do this for short-term expedience, in the long run, we lose the trust of those following us.

If nothing else, the hypocrisy at least is pretty transparent.