It has been a tough year for the Secret Service. Six months ago, an intruder climbed over a wrought-iron fence and ran through an unlocked front door into the East Room before he was apprehended. Then agents were involved in a car accident at the White House complex. Now the agency’s director wants to spend $8 million to build a replica of the White House in Beltsville, Maryland, the site of their 500-acre training facility. He believes such a structure would improve “integrated training between our uniform division officers, our agents and our tactical teams.”
In other security news, an Air Force veteran has been indicted on charges that he provided material support to the Islamic State. An envelope sent to the White House has tested positive for cyanide. Parents are looking for answers as 115 children in 34 states have been diagnosed with a rare type of paralysis. House Republicans have unveiled a budget blueprint for 2016 that would boost military spending. And Israeli voters have chosen Benjamin Netanyahu‘s security platform over economic reforms promised by his rivals.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow made famous a “hierarchy of needs” that begins with biological and physiological needs such as air, food, and drink. The next level comprises safety needs such as protection from the elements. Only then do we move to love and belongingness, the need for esteem and achievement, and finally to “self-actualization,” where we strive to realize our personal potential. In other words, if we do not have food and security, we will not care much about anything else.
Last Sunday I was sitting in an airplane waiting to fly from Dallas to Midland, Texas, where I was to lead a spiritual awakening conference. Then something happened I’ve never witnessed in all my decades of flying. The pilot came out from the cockpit, took the microphone from the flight attendant, and spoke directly to us.
He told us that the weather forecast called for significant turbulence on our flight. He then assured us that we were not in danger: “I’m not going to take you anywhere that is unsafe,” he promised. But the predicted rough air would be sufficient to endanger the flight attendants if they got up during the flight, so he had decided not to allow anyone to leave their seats during our 50-minute flight.
As it turned out, the flight was smooth. But the pilot’s actions impressed me on two levels. First, they modeled an important leadership principle: give the story nowhere to go. If you’re a leader, tell the bad news quickly and fully. You can delegate the good news, but you need to deliver the bad news in person. (Tweet this)
Second, the pilot reminded me of Jesus’ warning: “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But like our pilot, he promised to be with us throughout our flight (Matthew 28:20). And he will take us to a destination more glorious than we can imagine.
What security issues worry you today? Will you trust your Pilot? Will you share his assurance and hope with your fellow passengers? Corrie ten Boom was right: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”