“Flak’ is a word that is a type of acronym derived from a German word: Fliegerabwehrkanonen (Flieger flyer + Abwehr defense + Kanonen cannons). Flak is one of those words that often is misused. Flak on its own cannot inflict any damage, but the bursting shells from flak can do quite a bit of damage. If nothing else, flak is the evidence that the enemy is nearby and would like to do us harm. Under normal circumstances flak would be something to be avoided, but as Steve Kerr, once the chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs said, “If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.”
Combat Zone #1 – Disappointment/Envision
Seldom do things ever turn out like we think they should, with the timing that we think they should and with the results that we think they should. This was something that Moses had to deal with as described in Exodus 32 when the nation decided to go another way in their relationship with God. Yet, in Exodus 33, Moses is told to recover and prepare to start moving forward again. To thrive in disappointment, you need both realism and hope. It is important to deal with what is and envision what could be. Paul offered a good formula in II Corinthians 4:8 when he talked about being troubled but not distressed.
Combat Zone #2 – At a Loss/Enroll
What was ahead for Moses and the rest of the nation was full of question marks. Their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land would have many twists and turns that were completely unanticipated. Paul said we may be perplexed, meaning we are at a loss and so much so, it seems as if there is no way out. Situations often seem like that, but Paul also said that we are not to be in despair, meaning despondent. One of the ways to keep from becoming despondent is to fully enroll in a better plan for living. During times of uncertainty, surround yourself with highly skilled and understanding people that are familiar with a proven plan rather than personal opinions and views alone.
The world has too many unresolved and unanswered questions. That is why so many people become unresponsive and assume that life can never get better. They assign themselves to not knowing, if knowing means getting an answer they haven’t dreamed up themselves. Leave enough room in your life for both reality and hope.
Combat Zone #3 – Conflict/Engage
In the Chilean mine rescue effort of August 2010, there was only a 1.25% chance that the rescue shaft being drilled would hit the area where 33 miners were trapped after a massive rock fall of 700 thousand metric tons. To maximize success, the teams tried several different drilling plans and though many failed, all yielded crucial information about the mine and the rock. The teams utilized short action assessments to minimize wasting time and resources and allowed corrections in real time. That is what God’s Word offers because it is designed to prompt deep reflection regarding reality, instruction and hope.
Paul said that those following Christ are pursued (persecuted), but never deserted. Even when we stumble along the way, the determinant factor is if we are willing to try again (II Corinthians 4:9 & Prov. 24:16). Sooner or later, we are going to have to engage a plan that works; that provides clarity and direction. If we would engage God through better understanding of His Word, we would suffer from a lack of clarity much less than we often do. This is because we have been given the marvelous capacity to think deeply and to consider the best options. When we do reflect and consider, we can envision, enroll and engage while still on the march, in the battle and climbing to the summit. In the middle of the combat zone that you are currently facing, don’t lose your equanimity (composure). Coolness and steadiness under pressure wins the day.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska and serves as a Board Member for Love INC of Eagle River.