Sandwiched between political conventions and email scandals and an uprising of violence all over the world sat an article in yesterday’s news about the USS Gerald Ford, a $15 Billion navy aircraft carrier whose completion is two years behind schedule and not ready to join the naval fleet anytime soon. This is the most expensive warship in history. My husband’s grandfather was Captain of one of these carriers during the Vietnam war (USS Princeton, during which time he was awarded the Navy Cross for bravery) so the headline intrigued me.
In CNN’s article, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, said the Ford “continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense…unless these issues are resolved … they will significantly limit CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations.”
The most expensive warship in the history of the world can’t fight. And it can’t fight due to what the navy calls “unspecified testing issues.”
Have you ever been in a season in which the same sorts of trials hit at you from all different directions? Lately I have been feeling bombarded with trials of feeling offended. A look here, a comment there, an oversight or two, feeling left out from such-and-such or just flat out being wronged by someone. Not that I haven’t felt offended before, but lately the offenses are just piling high to the ceiling. It seems as though before I deal with one in my own heart another one is rearing its ugly head (although I’m sure being 6 months pregnant has NOTHING to do with it…Me? Being oversensitive? Of course not). At the same time, although I have been diligent in seeking and pursuing the Lord in my daily walk, I’ve just kind of felt….stuck.
Offense is like a million tiny weights pulling you downward as you trudge through slops of mud. Although you may be headed forward, the progress is slow at best and leaves you feeling exhausted. It is difficult to find a way out. Proverbs 18:19 says “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city.” There is something about the sin of offense that is sticky and holding and the natural tendency of our heart is to be unyielding. What great care must be taken to untangle the cords of pride and unforgiveness when one allows herself to be caught up in the miry gunk of offense!
Offense is the anti-gospel. It is the opposite of meekness. It says “my will be done” over “Thy will be done.” If the Lord is the one who brings “trials of many kinds” into our lives for the purposes of strengthening our faith, producing steadfastness, and ultimately bringing Him glory, then our balking at the circumstances we are surrounded by are nothing more than a shake of the fist at what God has ordained as our vehicle of such outcomes. After all, we are to “count it all joy!”
We are the most expensive warcraft in the history of the world. The greatest price was paid for the purchase of our souls. What a sad waste of precious resources to be deemed “unfit for combat” because of our “unspecified testing issues.” Our greatest victories will come as we yield in humility to our creator, cover offenses with love, and remember that we were bought with a price.
“From silken self, O Captain, free
thy soldier who would follow Thee.”