THE FLAG POLE
The camp has a 40 foot pole where we fly the USA flag. But the flag was old and beat up so a friend and I decided to take it down. But the rope used to raise the flag had been pulled to the top of the pole, so we had to find a way to grab the flag, pull it down, and attach a new rope to it. So my friend fashioned a metal hook and attached to eight foot pole. We went half way up the ladder and kept trying to get that old flag hooked onto the wire so we could pull the old flag down and then hoist up the brand new flag—but nothing was going our way.
After several attempts it was obvious that this was not going to work, so we gave up and he lowered the pole down for me to grab. As he lowered the pole he asked me to let go for a second so that he could just drop it. Then he asked a second and third time to just let it go so he could just drop the pole. But I explained to him that I was not holding the pole! He looked up and low and behold, the hook at the end of the pole had snagged the flag—-right when we gave up and he was coming off the ladder!
We were both amazed that only when we had given up all hope of snagging that flag that we were able to win the battle with an old beat up and tattered American flag. But then, as we pulled the old flag off the pole and started to attach the new one, he told me that as right before his hook grabbed the flag he whispered to God, “Okay, I give up, I did my best”. Then the hook caught the piece of the flag and we were able to complete our mission.
The similarities to this and events throughout my life are without end. At times I seek to complete a task or reach my goal and I succeed—and we’re supposed to work diligently and finish our tasks! If you shoot for nothing you can be certain to hit the mark—-every time! But if we set our sights high (either on lofty goals or on a 40 foot flag pole) we will sometimes fail—-that’s just life. But it does not have to defeat you! I have the blessed option of telling my Father, “Well I did my best and I failed Lord. I am sorry—-you’ll have to take it from here.”———and He does!
Vince Lombardi reminded his players that they would never reach perfection in their pursuits as the greatest football club in America. But he famously remarked that, “…we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence..” But this holds true spiritually as well. God has not redeemed us to be quitters! We are called to give whatever we are doing our very best—and we will be changed in the process of reaching higher than we ever imagined! There will be disappointments, but there will also be those serendipities—the surprises that come our way when we let go and admit to God that we’ve gone as far as we can go. I have to “let go….and let God….”