Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Maintenance or prevention? ................ Parables 583

February 3, 1998

John R. Kasich, chairman of the USA House Budget Committee, has this to say about the B-2 Stealth Bomber airplane: “The Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation have concluded that the B-2 has significant maintenance problems, mainly because of the sensitivity of the plane’s special coatings (supposed to make it invisible to enemy radar). Testing shows that the bomber’s skin can be damaged by extreme climates, dust, water and high humidity. This means the B-2 requires up to 124 maintenance hours for every flight hour.”

Wow! Some days, after heavy demands on my time and energy, I feel like a B-2. Not only is my surface damaged but some vital systems are threatening to shut down. Obviously, something is needed. But is it maintenance or prevention?

Looking at what knocks me out of commission, exhaustion is at the top of the list. That happens when I give lengthy output toward people and my work, without enough input from God. A tired body is one thing but a dust-dry spirit is like an empty gas tank.

Refueling is an important part of maintenance. Without it, I am like that sensitive airplane; I crash. Thankfully, what I need to keep going is not nearly as time-consuming or expensive as what the B-2 requires. I simply must keep connected to God, going to Him for my needs.

Old Testament King David wrote: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. He is my stronghold.” David knew where to get refueled.

So did the prophet Elijah. When he was exhausted, the Lord had him lie down and sleep, eat nourishing food, then sleep some more. Another prophet, Isaiah, also knew that even “youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” but he also knew that “they who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

If enemies take the form of people rather than our human limitations, God is also our helper. David wrote: “Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You (meaning God) are my refuge . . . . You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place . . . . I trust in You, O Lord . . . . My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.” Scripture shows that God answered his cries again and again.

On the other hand, sometimes my “surface damage” is just that. The problem is a “thin skin.” In other words, I take things personally and incorrectly interpret what people say or do and then get upset or feel attacked — but it is not necessary.

God has an answer and a comfort for that too. My problem is that I’ve chosen an excessive focus on myself. 1 Corinthians 13 defines love as doing the opposite. Love is not “self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” The passage also says that love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. If I am loving people as God commands me to love them, I will not read evil into everything they do and then feel sorry for myself because of it.

My husband sometimes refers to thin-skinned people as “high maintenance.” He recognizes they are like a B-2 and need constant care to prevent them from feeling hurt about many things. We both realize the best care comes from the One who knows us inside and out. He “manufactured” us. He knows what to do with both exterior and interior damage.

Someone said the B-2 is a great plane, just don’t take it out in the rain. We often try to do that with ourselves, refusing to risk anything that might mean bombardment. Yet who can escape hazards? No matter how hard we try, life is full of adversities. The great comfort is that God cares for us and although we might crash, He will not leave us on the ground.

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