Have You Left Your Wingman?

Jen’s Gem: You need your Wingman every day.

Yesterday, my son and I saw Top Gun Maverick. I don’t say this often, but the sequel was better than the original. So much better. It is a rare occurrence when I am more invested in the screen than in my popcorn. Yet, I found myself putting the bag to the side more times than I could count. 

 A movie buff when it comes to action films, my son noted the excellence of the movie and when we later watched its predecessor, we both agreed that it paled in comparison. If you haven’t seen it, go.

The events of the past few weeks have rattled all of us. Who would’ve ever thought that teachers, alongside first responders would have to fear for their lives? Who would’ve ever thought that as we packed up our child’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that it might be their last meal? No one could.

Unthinkable, yet sadly the story becomes another item in our newsfeed that we scroll through. Just another day in America. We grieve and then move on, awaiting the next “shock,” which sadly we know will come faster than we expect. 

My heart grieves for the families of those murdered. It’s not supposed to be this way. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. Teachers are not supposed to take a bullet to protect their students. Movie sequels are not supposed to be better than the originals.

I read a social media post the other day that really got me thinking. It read something like:

“We’ve kicked God out of everything in our lives. We’ve  told Him to take a back seat. Yet we wonder where He is when tragedy strikes. We removed His name from buildings and wonder why He doesn’t protect them. We’ve replaced spending time with Him with soccer games, work, or Netflix binges and wonder why there is strife in our families and our kids are ending their lives.”

In the Bible, there are oodles of examples of what happened when people kicked God to the curb and replaced Him with their own gods, whether it be statues of stone and gold or their respective pursuits of happiness. Simply put. It didn’t go well.

I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form that God caused the tragedies of the past or present. That would be a lie. God is love. There is no darkness or evil in Him. None. None. If there is evil, it has only one source. Satan. He has only one purpose: steal, kill, destroy. (John 10:10)

He’s been doing it since the days of Adam and Eve, getting progressively worse every day. In case you haven’t noticed, his current target is  our most vulnerable, our most treasured and prized possessions: our kids. 

Isn’t that what the enemy does in a battle? They find their opponent’s weak spot and are able to overtake them. Isn’t that what Top Gun fighter pilots do in a dog fight? They find a vulnerability and attack.

So what are we supposed to do? How do we become Top Gun pilots so that we can protect our children, loved ones, and ourselves? We call on the “best of the best.” We call on Maverick. No, not that one. The Maverick on the silver screen is no match for the Almighty despite his good looks and “larger than life” personality.

“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)

Here’s the rub. God knows full well what is going on here. He sees everything and I’m sure His heart is broken as this was not His will for us. People ask “where was God?” when tragedies occur. Yet, He hasn’t moved. We have. He hasn’t changed. We have. He hasn’t broken His promises. We have. His love hasn’t stopped. Ours has. His mercy,  grace, and forgiveness have not ended. Ours has.

If we want to overcome evil, then we need a refresher course at the Top Gun school of love. If we want to mend broken hearts, then we need to enroll in a fighter pilot course and make sure we have a copy of the Training Manual. We need to study it as if our lives depended on it.

Because guess what? They do.

“I’m not leaving my wingman.” Maverick learned this important lesson in the worst dog fight of his life. What’s a wingman? It’s “a pilot that flies just outside and behind the wing of the leading aircraft in a flight formation, in order to provide protective support. A person who helps, protects, guides a friend/associate or in other words, watches his back.”

Have we left our Wingman? He hasn’t left us and He never will.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)

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