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Do Something!

What did America do before warning lights, buzzers, and “beeps”?  There are so many of the things that we use that come with various ways to let us know something is not working properly, or operated in a way that could be harmful, or is being entered without correct identification.

Our cars “ding” to let us know we are not “buckled up”.  The instrument panel lights up to show that a tire is low, a door is ajar, our fuel is nearly gone, or we need an oil change.  Computers make various sounds to let us know that processes are underway or have failed.  Some entrances to certain places will have a robotic voice speak if the person entering did not use the proper code, card, or identification requirement to pass the detector.

You and I know that there are some lights that flash or blink that we never truly even hear anymore as an alert.  We have become deaf to the sound because that machine makes that noise every single time we do “whatever it is” that sets it off.  The same is true for every form of warning…whether it is a light, horn sounding, robotic or live voice, or any other way to irritate us as we are seeking to get something done.

Human nature is such that any such occurrence is met with an instant desire to “fix it”.  Most likely, we are punching buttons, turning dials, hitting “reset” or “re-boot” determined that the way to fix the flashing light is to mess with the device until the sound or flashing light stops.

Test pilots have a litmus test for evaluating problems. When something goes wrong, they ask, “Is this thing still flying?” If the answer is yes, then there’s no immediate danger, no need to overreact. When Apollo 12 took off, the spacecraft was hit by lightning. The entire console began to glow with orange and red trouble lights. There was a temptation to “Do Something!” But the pilots asked themselves, “Is this thing still flying in the right direction?” The answer was yes–it was headed for the moon. They let the lights glow as they addressed the individual problems, and watched orange and red lights blink out, one by one. That’s something to think about in any pressure situation. If your thing is still flying, think first, and then act.  (Capt. Alan Bean, USN, Apollo Astronaut).

Life itself is full of alarms and fears.  Our immediate reaction to something that is stress-filled is “fight or flight”.  That may be required.  More often than not, we just need to wait, process what it is that is creating such angst, assess the situation to determine “if” we act what the outcome might be, and if we just wait, what is the worst that can happen.  Why should that be our response?  Far too often, we can make a situation worse when in emotional or fearful reaction to some “bad news”, we overreact and make the situation worse.

When all of the lights are blinking “in our world”, then we may have to act immediately.  Just be sure that before you jump in “with both feet”, you know where you are jumping, why you are responding, what caused you to move so quickly, how will your action work to bring resolution, and when you “do whatever you plan to do” will the situation be “fixed”.   Remember that our LORD often admonished us about the virtue of patience and waiting on Him to cause “all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Psalmist also wrote, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).