Daily Proverbial, from Ecclesiastes, 14 November 2012

If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest. Ecclesiastes 10, verse 4.

One of my favorite quote is from Winston Churchill. “Never, never, never give up.” When war came to England, Churchill defiantly swore that the British people would never surrender. His words inspired a nation, bucked them up to resist the enemy and build the strength to overcome…and to win. He was calm and controlled, but oh so determined. Hitler wanted to rule; Churchill vowed to win. Hitler ended up with a bullet in his brain while Churchill endured and died an old man.

Stay the course. Man your position. When adversity comes – and it will come – be calm and do not abandon your post. Work to keep a cool head. It’s common sense advice but it’s Godly advice. You and me, let’s not be the stupid fools walking down the middle of the road, demonstrating our stupidity. Instead, in the face of trouble, in the face of harshness from above, let’s remain calm. Breathe deep, inhale and exhale. It’s OODA loop time: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Be active in that loop.

Be active in it by first having faith. God has you where He has you for a reason. It’s not to hurt you or hammer you, but it is for you to rely on Him, to serve, and to build you up. Be active in observing, orienting, deciding and acting by first relying on faith in His Providence to help you do those things. Submit to Him and listen to what He’s telling you in the moment. He might speak through the wind, through words, through actions, through silence. Follow and be lead.
In doing that, this also means that we need to prepare and be ready. You can’t hold a position if you aren’t prepared to do it. Inform yourself. Save. Purchase wisely. Store up supplies. More than any of this, be increased in your faith. Be in the Word every day. Read up, contemplate it, let it mold your heart and mind, and adjust your living by what it says you should do. Be better.

While we’re at it, lets’ be calm and rest in faith. My dad turned me on to the Horatio Hornblower books. One of Hornblower’s best traits (and abilities) was his calmness. Even under fire, Hornblower kept his head. He wasn’t overactive and he wasn’t rash. He was controlled and deliberate. That’s what calmness does. It allows us to gain control of how we act in sometimes uncontrollable situations. Is it any surprise, then, that God implores us to remain calm? This is an ability that I struggle with. I constantly have to work to remain calm (especially when caffeinated). When real crises happen to us – and they do – if we act upon them calmly we are able to better do things for the good of those around us rather than simply reacting. It’s very Horatio Hornblower. More than that, it’s Godly.

And know this: it isn’t all a bunch of clammy platitudes. This isn’t lofty religious advice or idle talk or a bunch of crap for other people to do. It’s for you too. It’s for me. Let both of us calmly man our position in life and make the most of the moment. In doing so, we’re living in a Godly way and minimizing errors we might otherwise make. You aren’t an immoral or terrible person; there’s nothing that’s ever happened in your life or that you’ve done in your life that can make God hate you. He wants you and me to be with Him in this life and forever. He wants to lead us and infuse our lives with incredible, knowing, calming, life-living-changing love and He wants us to share that.

Rulers will get angry and you and I will cause them to anger. Maybe what you do today won’t be directly known by President Obama today (or maybe it will). Maybe your governor won’t know anything about you. Ditto your legislative representative, your mayor, or maybe even your city councilman (or woman). Maybe they will, but I doubt it. But your boss will, and your spouse will, and your God will. What we do matters, and behind that how we comport ourselves while doing what we do matters as well. Let’s start by staying put when trouble comes, and acting calmly instead of reacting to someone else’s game.


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