I pray you have had a good week, navigating the small and big trials of life with grace, wisdom, and resilience. I again thank you for your stories and comments regarding our last newsletter. As you should know by now, I am convinced that resilience is a critical life skill, and that Americans need resilience more than ever before. We absolutely must be able to learn from the adversities of life to get better, wiser, stronger for future life challenges. Particularly among our youth, it is critical to develop the right coping reflexes to disappointment, tragedy, and interpersonal conflicts to prevent a handicapped future of victimhood, offense, and deep seated anger. As importantly, we recognize that God created us and has given us a user’s manual (aka Bible) which helps us experience resilience, growth, and a positive future in Him.
This week we will shift to the subject of HOPE. Each of you is perhaps familiar with the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian Museum — a huge diamond named after its original owner Mr. Hope. The reality, however, is that this precious diamond brought nothing but heartache and tragedy for its owner and many others. Conversely, there is another Hope Diamond which reflects the HOPE that comes through the person of Jesus. This hope is both eternal and temporal, providing life though eternity with our Heavenly Father and abundant earthly life through the comfort, counsel, and inspiration of His Holy Spirit.
Here’s the real Hope Diamond: John 3:16.
God provides hope in many forms, to include through leaders who are “merchants of hope,” giving courage, inspiration, and confidence to those in the direst of straits. For example, the Apostle Paul was a Merchant of Hope when his captors’ ship began to flounder on their voyage to Rome. While you can read the many rich principles from this story in Acts 27:18-38 yourself, the key soundbite is “22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.” You can go the pages of Resilient Leaders for more examples of leaders who are merchants of hope.
In this edition, we provide an essay describing a true merchant of hope, a naval leader who defied German submarines in order to give fellow sailors hope, allowing them to “hold on ten seconds longer” until help arrived. As well, we provide a featured Resilience Resource, test your resilience acumen with another Resilience God Style Training game question, and provide feedback from one of the faithful warriors in our Resilience God Style community.
My prayer for each of us continues to be that we might learn and model Christ-like resilience as we navigate the storms of life and help others do the same. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Resilience God Style allows us to be the overcomers which God intended us to be.
Respectfully in Christ,
“But when he saw Doyle’s beacon, it was as though a light switched on in heaven.
Around him, fresh fire surged in the men, a sudden, burning will to live.”
-A quote from an Indianaoplis survivor-
Turn On Your Searchlight, and Point It At The Sky!
by Bob Dees
BOILERS CHURNING HOT, USS Doyle sliced through the sea with the urgency of a bullet. Over the radio, Claytor had heard that Marks collected more than fifty men, and also about the second Dumbo (a downed seaplane). This meant there were at least a hundred men still in the water on this blackest of nights. Claytor imagined their terror. How many would be lost to cold or sharks? How many would simply give up hope?
This dramatic vignette, taken from the pages of Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sarah Vladic (pages 268-269), records the race to rescue survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis on March 31, 1945 in the concluding months of war in the Pacific.
Yet the story turns even more dramatic:
At 10:42 p.m., Claytor issued an order that no man aboard had ever heard before: “Turn on the searchlight and point it at the sky.”
Claytor’s officers and sailors were stunned. At night, the crew of a warship made a religion of keeping it dark, skulking around under dim red lights, even hiding the orange glimmer of their cigarettes.
Some on the bridge were aware of Marks’s warning about possible submarines in the area. Allowing any light to escape the ship was like painting her with a bull’s-eye for the enemy. Still, they understood.
Doyle was more than an hour away from the survivors, and Claytor wanted the men in the water to see the light, dig deep, and hang on just a little longer.
Courage takes many forms – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational. Courage can be defined in many ways, such as “Holding on ten seconds longer.” Another way to define courage would be Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Staring down fear.” As well, courage is contagious, and inspires courage and hope in others. This historical account from Indianapolis certainly demonstrates courage in all its forms.
Captain Claytor’s decision to turn on the Doyle’s searchlight was both courageous and selfless. This brave act gave sailors fighting for survival the hope and courage they needed. A few final words from Indianapolis to illustrate this point:
“Look!’ Marks said to the men crying for water and clinging to life. That light they saw was a destroyer on its way. There was water on board, and doctors. Rescue was coming soon.
And as he watched, joy and relief washed across their faces. The settled back against the bulkheads and gazed upon that lovely light, now certain of their salvation.
Doyle’s light had a similar effect on men still in the water. Lebow and Hershberger’s group had dwindled from 130 to 35, and they had almost given up hope. But when Hershberger saw the luminous tower, he realized for the first time that he was going to make it.”
Finally, from one other grateful Indianapolis survivor,
… But when he saw Doyle’s beacon, it was as though a light switched on in heaven. Around him, fresh fire surged in the men, a sudden, burning will to live.
Such sacrificial courage on Captain Claytor’s part gave a “burning will to live” to those who saw his tower of hope in the sky. Prayerfully such inspiring acts motivate us towards courage and hope in our own lives.
Whatever your particular circumstance, the good news is that God is always shining His searchlight on our behalf. In fact, His Son Jesus is the ultimate searchlight of hope for all of us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” -Hebrews 6:19a.
Perhaps you are adrift in an ocean of doubt or despair. May you draw hope and help from the light that God and others shine your way. Or perhaps you are a leader, parent, coach, or mentor in a position to give courage and hope to others. May God give you the motivation and creativity to turn on your searchlight to inspire, guide, and empower many. Sometimes it is a simple act like turning the switch on a searchlight, or a kind word in season, or a timely high five, or simply a listening ear, or an inspiring example of courage like Captain Claytor’s.
May each of us have the courage to shine light which puts “fresh fire” into others, which helps others “hold on ten seconds longer,” which gives them “a sudden, burning will to live.” Sometimes it will truly make the difference between hope and despair, or between life and death.
Turn on your searchlight, and point it at the sky!
What do YOU think?
Do you have examples of searchlights in your life?
Have you been able to be a searchlight for others?
Tell us about it.
This Resilient Leaders book describes “Resilient Leadership over time from a platform of character and competence,” tapping the power of Biblical wisdom and role models such as Jesus and so many others. If you seek to grow as a leader and merchant of hope, this book was written for you.
Suggested Answer: It is hard to have dreams smashed, but when the dream comes true later, it is a source of life and joy. Examples: 1) after losing a child, we were overjoyed when another one arrived, 2) I was disappointed when I didn’t make the team, but it was awesome when my hard work finally paid off, 3) We had a lot of rough patches in our early days of friendship, but now we are true “battle buddies.”
From the Mailbox
When I was a young Army major in 1988, I found myself aboard a Navy frigate cruising through the Persian Gulf in dangerous waters…an odd place for an infantry officer. The Iran-Iraq war was ongoing and the US was protecting Kuwaiti oil tankers plying the Gulf with a good chunk of the world’s supply of oil.
I was escorting US news media aboard the ship during one of the escort missions.
Late one evening I was standing a very small deck platform, outside but right next to the bridge, where the officer of the deck or ship’s captain and his small crew of navigator and helmsman were controlling the movement of the ship through the fairly calm waters. In about a five minute time span, a sudden storm gathered and the ship began to rock and roll violently as Gulf waters began to splash against the ship’s sides. In those same moments I grew very nauseated, to the point where I could not head down the stairwell, found in the bridge, and head to a safer place.
Instead, I found myself sinking to my knees, in a weakened state. I grasped the short railing beside that platform with all the strength I could muster. I feared that any longer on this bridge wing platform, which was increasingly getting wet and slippery as the ship rocked and rolled, I would fall through the railing, into the Persian Gulf… and likely be unrecoverable. At that moment, my searchlight was my faith. I looked skyward… and uttered three simple words… “Lord, I’m Yours.”
Within about 5 seconds, the nausea was completely gone…and a very noticeable surge of physical energy flowed from my feet, up through my previously weakened legs, and as it moved up my body, I stood up. The ship was still rolling but I was able to release the bridge railing and then walked into the crowded, busy ship’s bridge — where the crew was ‘fighting’ the storm — down the stairs, and down the ship’s hallway to my designated bunk room. I carefully crawled into my bunk, fastened the strap across my body that was provided for such weather… and fell asleep.
That was my searchlight moment. It was a miraculous, life-changing moment.
Thank you for allowing me to share this.
Thank you, Barry.
We are grateful God protected you, and that you had the faith muscles to
“Call 911” (God in prayer) at your point of need.
A powerful resilience lesson for all of us!
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