Saturday morning Ernie and I ate at the Tucson Mall Food Court after we’d completed walking an hour’s worth of Mall laps. As we sat at a table relaxing Ernie asked, “Do you think God is developing you into a Navy Seal?”
“Say what?” I almost choked as I tried to swallowed my first big bite of a Cinnabon.
“I don’t mean an actual Navy Seal, but is God preparing you to become a deadly effective war machine?”
I cleared my throat. “Um … I don’t know … is that what God’s doing?” With my napkin I wiped some sticky sweet frosting from the corner of my mouth.
“I say it is.” Ernie took a sip of his coffee.
“Consider that God is active in your life … in everybody’s life.”
“God is doing something significant.”
“God is preparing everyone for service.”
“God is developing you into a Navy Seal.”
“OK … I mean, maybe. How’s God doing this?”
“Well for instance God begins the process through trials and errors.” Ernie set his coffee cup down.
I took another bite of my cinnamon delight. Then I said, “Give me an example.”
“Alright … let me first ask you a question.”
“OK.” I said, while chewing. “Ask away.”
“What do you think might be the purpose of a trial, a bit of suffering, or a crushing experience?” Ernie raised his cup to his lips and waited for me to reply.
Truth is I’d wondered about things like this before, but never really thought them through. “Purpose? I’m not sure there is a purpose …. What’s the purpose?”.
“Naw! That’s crazy talk.”
“No listen. God can use these things for preparation.”
“Preparation for what exactly? … Give me a for instance.”
“Preparation for developing you into a Navy Seal. Here’s one example … say someone loses their job unexpectedly because their company is closing shop here and moving there …”
“Hmm OK, I got it.”
“Is this a personal trial?”
I swallowed my last piece of Cinnabon before I said, “Of course it is. It affects the person. It affects the family. And it affects the neighborhood.”
“Right! This trial causes some form of hardship, doesn’t it?”
“Obviously.” I looked Ernie in the eye.
He didn’t blink. He didn’t look away. “Trials, suffering or defeats are part of the same thing … they’re preparation,” he said. “This preparation has both a temporary and an eternal value.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! You’re losing me.” I held up my left hand to slow Ernie down.
“Alright, let me back up a little,” he said calmly. “God is preparing you and me … us to become Navy Seals. A Navy Seal represents a tough, hardened defender that is skilled in conflict techniques. A Navy Seal is systematically prepared to overcome any enemy.”
“OK, I’ll buy that.” I composed myself. My head quit spinning.
Ernie continued explaining, “A Navy Seal operates in the physical realm. But God’s Navy Seals operate not only in the physical realm, they also operate in the spiritual realm. In this realm the skills and weapons used are supernatural … they are much more powerful than mere physical abilities.”
“So then, God prepares you to become a Navy Seal, and one means of preparing you is through trials, suffering, or ruin … maybe all three.” Ernie paused and took a breath.
“OK, I can follow that.” I caught a whiff of a fresh batch of Cinnabons. My stomach smiled.
“The result is that preparation produces the ability in us to endure the hardships of trials, suffering, and even, destruction. And then to perform our service for the Lord.”
“Wow!” My eyes widened. “How do you come up with this stuff?”
Ernie continuing said, “Endurance matures us and makes us ready for anything … do you understand?”
“A little.” I planed to spend some alone time to think this through.
As we pushed our chairs back and stood up Ernie finished by saying and asking, “Think Navy Seal …. Are you tough? You can be.”
Acapella Praise God Will Make a Way