A few days ago, I had the chance encounter to talk to a Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer and his wife while at a business meal. I walked over and thanked them for their service. As we talked, he mentioned that he is in the state for recruiting. This was their first time in the state of Minnesota so, I told them about the fall colors on the North Shore of Duluth; this was met with exuberance as they had plans to go see them. Early this morning, I thought about the conversation and reflected back on my days in recruiting. When I first graduated from recruiting school, I was looking forward to the tour with great joy because I was in my home state. While in recruiting school, I heard nothing but “this is the best job ever”. My previous tour was extremely successful thanks to prayer and the support of my local church and I thought I could use that same model in this job. At first, I earnestly worked towards that goal however, within six months, things began to unravel both at home and on the job. I would work longer hours thinking, “I am doing this for my family”. I began to also focus on “getting promoted” and did so by listening to bad advice without one time considering what it would cost me. In the end, I did not get promoted and walked away from recruiting to do menial work at the Recruiting District office until my retirement in 1997.
In a way, I felt like Naomi who left the land of Judah to go live in Moab due to a famine. Prior to her departure from Judah, Naomi was content and happy, but situations dictated a change in venue. During the time in Moab, Naomi became despondent due to the harsh conditions, the loss of her husband and her two boys. In the end, Naomi did return to Judah but, she wasn’t the same person who left Judah (Ruth). Prior to Recruiting, I walked with the shout of the King and the Devil shook when I prayed. While recruiting, I became infected by the grime of corruption. In the end, I walked with a hobble and my prayers were ineffective and the Devil laughed when I sought God’s favor. The point I want to get across to you and my encouragement for you is, don’t ever let the good that you have seen in life or the good you have done be eaten away by the harsh conditions for which you find yourself in. Always, keep your eyes on the prize. Life is unfair and it can be bitter, but we do not need to be defined by it; rather, define our world by our outlook. It is true, we cannot always live mountain-top lives, sometimes we have to live in the valleys in order to grow our faith in God.
“All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” —John Wooden. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2ndPeter 3:17-18).
Every day of our life is present from you. Help us to ever keep my eyes on you. The Devil has made it his goal to destroy every place where your Spirit has dwelt in order to bring all of mankind into submission. When we chose to look past the darkness of sin and see the beauty of life, we deny the Devil and upend his quest. The previous work that we do in life breeds hopes for a future generation. For this reason, help us to never allow the bad things in life to eat away at the beautiful parts of our world. Watch over the people on my prayer list and keep each and every one.
In Jesus Name
All of my writings can be found at http://www.mikesencouragement.net
Hannah Hurnard. Hinds Feet on High Places. Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA (1993).