After two decades of isolationism and lagging development in military aircraft following WWI, the threat of war in Europe created a sense of urgency among military leaders to catch up with the Axis powers.
In March 1939, the Army Air Corps sent forth a proposal to America’s aircraft manufacturers to design a medium bomber capable of flying up to 350 MPH, with a range of 3,000 miles, and capable of carrying a bomb load of 2,000 pounds. The contract went to the Glenn L. Martin Company, which produced one of the most advanced medium bombers of WWII, the B-26 Marauder. However, pressure to meet the Army’s deadlines forced Martin to go directly from drawing board to production, without any development and testing of a prototype. This meant that the Army Air Corps pilots themselves, most of whom were terribly inexperienced, would serve as test pilots. But the combination of inexperienced aircrews and an untested aircraft resulted in disaster.
Jesus promised us that whoever is faithful in little will be placed in charge of much
The plane immediately proved extremely hard to handle, especially during takeoff and landing. Pilots found its high landing airspeed of 120-135 MPH particularly intimidating. Landing the plane safely required a frightfully steep glide path with a last-second leveling of the aircraft. This resulted in hundreds of crashes and fatalities. One exaggerated claim to its numerous crashes expressed itself in the saying, “One a day in Tampa Bay.” Exaggerated or not, the B-26 quickly earned nicknames such as “Widow Maker,” “Flying Coffin,” and “The Baltimore Whore.” Such an outcry arose about the B-26 that Missouri Senator Harry S Truman called for an immediate cancellation of production and service. Only the efforts of famed aviator Jimmy Doolittle rescued the plane from oblivion and allowed it to prove its combat worthiness, though it required many modifications and its pilots extensive training. The early history of the B-26 underscored the desperate need for a testing and refinement phase of aircraft development before it is ever delivered to its war-fighting role.
We Americans have never been sold on the idea of preparation and testing before we embark on our life’s mission. No. We actually determine success based on the speed with which we get from Point A to Point B, the time it takes us to earn our first million dollars, or the renown of becoming the youngest CEO.
We even apply this mentality of “the quicker the better” to our spiritual growth. New books encourage us to “take charge of our spiritual growth” to reach the summits of spirituality at a record pace.
The trouble with this philosophy is that it clashes with God’s plan and timetable. How many servants did God rush to produce and rush into service? I cannot think of one, unless of course we consider the meteoric rise of King Saul. Yet Saul’s rapid rise was driven by Israel’s impatience with Samuel’s old-fashioned, unglamorous, yet highly effective leadership. God simply gave into Israel’s whining for “a king like all the other nations have.” Sadly, Saul was completely unprepared for the pressures of the throne. He crumbled almost as quickly as he rose to power. In contrast, with every other servant of God – Moses, Joshua, David, and the apostles – God took His time. God exposed His future servants to loads of affliction and tribulation before He entrusted them with great responsibilities.
So, if your life seems to be going nowhere and opportunities for greatness are not abounding, don’t despair or consider yourself a failure. Devote yourself to the present task God has given you and remain faithful at all times. Jesus promised us that whoever is faithful in little will be placed in charge of much (Matthew 25:21, 23). When it comes to human beings, God invests a lot of time preparing us, testing us, and proving us. And He measures our success by our faithfulness.
Dear Father in heaven, please help me to be diligent in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, studying Scripture, participating in worship, and living out my faith at work, home, and in private. But when I have done all that is humanly possible, help me to trust in You to do the impossible. Please take me and make me into the person of Your dreams. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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