Leadership

Finding Certainty In An Uncertain World

Author: BG David Warner, USAF, (Ret.)

Photo by Navy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Paul outlines three ways that Christians can adapt to a troubled culture

We answered the ringing phone awakening us at 0430 while on vacation years ago.

110104-N-2055M-273<br /> PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 4, 2010) Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Marcus Bjorklund receives instructions from a supervisor in a refueling station aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a refueling at sea. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza/Released)

On the other end of the line my vice wing commander quickly informs me to tear up the PCS orders I’ve had since March, orders that would have kept the Warner family in Colorado for another year. Now wide-awake, Lori and our two daughters are hanging on every single word of the one-way conversation they’re hearing. We’re to be at our new duty station in thirty days.

The impact of sudden change was overwhelming. Lori had to inform her school she wouldn’t be returning in the fall to teach. Eldest daughter, Brittney, would spend her senior year at a new high school—her third high school. And Ashley would leave behind her best friends. Uncertainty had flooded in, leaving in its wake a myriad of swirling emotions.

Such is the military life. Many of you are facing multiple layers of uncertainty and the list is endless: Where’s my next assignment? Will I make the next rank? Am I on track for the next rung of the ladder? Will my spouse find a job? What school will the kids attend? Will they find friends there? Adding to that list of uncertainties are our contemporary culture’s changes to the make-up of our military. What will the military lifestyle look like five, ten, twenty or more years down the road from the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell and the legalization of same-sex marriage?

All this begs the question, “How do we find certainty today in an uncertain world?” Examining Philippians 4:4-9, we find Paul’s outlined three-pronged formula for the how-to of adaptation to life’s uncertainties by guarding your face, heart and mind: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (vv. 4-5).

Guard your face. We can tell the difference as to whether someone possesses true joy or is worried about the future. Paul tells us to rejoice in God because He is near. Do you feel God’s presence? Are you resting comfortably in His hands? If you do, your face and countenance will show it.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (vv. 6–7).

101230-N-3415O-218<br /> ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 30, 2010) Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Alexander Castillo, left, and Information Systems Technician 1st Class Cyrus Fluitt fire M9 service pistols during small arms qualifications aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57). Lake Champlain is deployed with Commander, Task Force 151 supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael O'Day/Released)

Guard your heart. Have you placed the cause of your uncertainty at the Lord’s feet? Are you thankful for where He has you and what He’s allowing you to experience? When you do this, the overwhelming sense of peace will pour over you and your heart will be free of worries.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (vv. 8–9).

Guard your mind. What governs your thought life? Paul’s instructions are clear—don’t allow the enemy to cloud your mind with all the negativity swirling around us. Train your mind to focus on the Lord.

For the Warner family, when new orders came to us during that vacation years ago, we asked the Lord to be in every aspect of the move. Immediately His peace enveloped us despite our thousand questions about moving overseas. Though the move’s impact upon us was substantial, we laid all questions and concerns at His feet. We welcomed the change and turned our thoughts toward making the most of it, rather than becoming bitter.

Guarding your face, heart and mind all play out in OCF through our eight Spiritual Pillars. Pillars four and five address our key principles of being a “lay-led” ministry where “integrating faith and profession” is exhorted to our members. I believe the ability to shine the light of Christ effectively in the most difficult of our military careers’ situations depends upon how well we live out God’s instructions through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

We live in a hurting world of people desperate for answers. As a Christian, you already have the answer—Christ in your heart. If you have successfully guarded your face, heart and mind, when uncertainty strikes those you lead will look to you and find comfort and confidence. And they will also be curious about the source of your peace.

In contrast to the world’s increasing uncertainty, rejoice in the Lord! Know that He is near. Don’t be anxious, but focus on Him and meditate on His Word. And you will be the light of Christ in a dark world.

About David Warner

Brig. Gen. David B. Warner, USAF (Ret.), and his wife, Lori, are the Executive Director couple of Officers’ Christian Fellowship. They assumed the position in August 2010, after retiring a month earlier from the United States Air Force out of Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He is currently serving on the board of the Christian Service Charities, and as an advisory council mentor for Faith Comes By Hearing. David and Lori live in Monument, Colorado, and have two married daughters, Brittney (Andrew) and Ashley (Chris). In their spare time, David and Lori enjoy spending time with their four grand kids.

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