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Vantage point

Four flags, one storm


I stood on an enclosed catwalk during a fierce storm watching strong winds buffet four outside marker flags. The flags were identical, yet the same strong gusts affected each of the flags differently.

The first flag had been anchored deep in the ground. Thus, the flag’s pole didn’t waver. But the flag itself, unable to bend with the wind, was being slapped to tatters.

The second flag, which had not been driven in so far, was dancing wildly in every direction, violently flailing about in random convulsions.

A third flag drooped, and then suddenly leaped to attention. Falling motionless again, it would suddenly salute once more, crisply in this direction, then in that.

The fourth flag was surprisingly unperturbed. It waved gently, as if the fierce winter storm were just a mild summer breeze.

Four flags, one storm, four different reactions to the gale.

People are like that. Storms affect different people in different ways. The well-anchored flag was secure, but injured; whereas the barely anchored flag endured no visible wounds, though it spent the storm in a precarious dance of perpetual motion.

Some Christians, like flag number three, are up and down and continually changing direction.

Of course, the fourth flag seems to be the model — calmly enduring till the storm passed by.

But the real message is not that we should all be like flag number four. The real message is … people are different. How someone else reacts to a trial such as you are going through is simply not relevant. Too often, people in the midst of a trial intensify their burdens by browbeating themselves for not enduring more triumphantly.

Why is a well-grounded Christian sometimes apparently more injured by a trauma than a novice? And why does God bless Brother Up-and-Down? And why can’t more of us peacefully endure our trials? It doesn’t matter. You may not react like other Christians, but things are not always as they seem. Don’t compete with anyone. God loves you. And He will bring you through your trials … no matter how your flag waves.

Ken Horn

4867 • 8/19/07

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