October 4, 2012
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
(Psalm 139: 23, 24)
Applying the compass of a jet pilot to our personal compass of life we next need to ask what it means to conserve when we think we may have lost our way. The familiar prayer of David in Psalm 139 is one answer to that question. We can assume that David is facing challenging decisions about the way he needs to go. We might also assume that he is aware of what this translation lists as his ‘anxieties.’
He is asking God to take the lid off his mind, heart, thoughts and motives along with his anxieties and show him what should not be there because he wants to walk with God in the everlasting way. By example and precept David is teaching that we should be conservative when our anxiety is letting us know that we have lost our way.
We should not make big decisions when we are down or on an emotional high. We should move ahead steadily when what God shows us under the lid of our heart and mind is in alignment with His will and the way He wants us to go with Him.
My friend, the squadron commander, told me about a rookie pilot who radioed his carrier: “I’m lost somewhere over the South West Pacific Ocean but I’m making excellent time!” When we know we are lost that’s not when we are to be making excellent time. That is the time for us to be conservative and pray this prayer of David.
October 1, 2012
“… God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
When we know we could get lost we make sure we have a compass with us. Jet pilots fly so far so fast they must have a compass to use immediately when they think they are lost. A squadron commander I knew taught his pilots to use this five-fingered compass: “CONFESS, CLIMB, CONSERVE, COMMUNICATE and COMPLY.”
They were to immediately CONFESS when they thought they might be lost. Then they were to CLIMB because communications are better and they burn less fuel with altitude. Next they were to pull back on the throttle to CONSERVE fuel. The final two points on their compass were critical: to COMMUNICATE with their carrier and then COMPLY with that communication. He promised that if they faithfully implemented the five points on this compass they would see the red light on their carrier called the “meat ball” that guided them to a safe landing.
If we realize we have lost our direction in life we must confess that we are lost. Then we should climb, or do whatever we can do to get close to God. This could be having a private spiritual retreat or seeking out spiritual people. We should not make big decisions but conserve when we have lost our way. The last two points on our personal compass are also critical: we must communicate with God and comply with what we believe He makes us know we are to do (John2:5).
If we will faithfully implement the five points on this compass we will see the “meatball” of His will that will guide us to green pastures in this life and to a safe landing in the house of the Lord forever.