Resolutions

So that’s Christmas done … it’s the time for resolutions now … so easy to make, but so hard to keep for many of us! The decision to keep going with it can be hard, but we all have hard decisions to make don’t we? Which reminds me of a decision making meeting on a warship in the Caribbean in the mid 90s ….…

The WIGS deployment as it was known (West Indies Guard Ship) had been, up till this point, a complete ‘jolly’. Swanning around the West Indies for 6 months showing the flag and visiting idyllic islands every weekend, enjoying hands to bathe (stop the ship and jump off the side for a swim), Flight Deck BBQs and getting a ridiculous sun tan … but things were changing. Drug smuggling in the region was on the increase and we were getting more and more involved with other Navies and coastguards working together to combat the smuggling as best we could. But we were making the rules up as we went really, they were using what we called ‘go fasts’ very small boats with ridiculous outboard motors on which could do over 40 knots .. which was faster than we could go … but not faster than a Lynx helicopter!

We had come across one of these ‘go fasts’ and had been tracking it for a while, but it was just keeping itself out of range of the ship, so we could not stop and board. Our ‘Rules of Engagement’ at that time were very strict, and we were not allowed to engage it to force it to stop (later on we used to carry Royal Marine snipers who could put a bullet in the engines, then we could board, but that was a while away yet…). So there were a few of us sat in the operations room with the Captain having an informal chat about ways to stop this thing without shooting at it! The helicopter had been flying over it trying to get it to stop but they weren’t having any of it! So we decided that we needed to drop something on it … that wasn’t shooting was it? The first idea was drop a beer barrel on it from the helo and that would go straight through the boat and sink it … hmm (and anyway we didn’t want to waste a full barrel) . Then someone suggested dropping a cargo net (or scrambling net) in front of it in the hope that it would go over it and would snag its propellers thus forcing it to stop …. Did we go for it? Difficult decision for the Captain … there was this boat with visible bags of drugs (probably cocaine) and we were powerless .. we did actually drop a net, but it didn’t work and that go fast got away … thankfully the rules of engagement changed, and since then the RN has been part of many major drug busts in the area …

For me prayer is a major part of decision making … (before you ask, no I did not actually ask the Captain if we could ask God to help us stop the go fast … but i’m sure I sent up a quick personal prayer for him to help us all). And that’s the key, prayer is simply talking to God, thanking him for who is, what he has done for us (you can start with food / shelter / family / friends etc etc … whatever you are thankful for !!) and then asking for his help. In Church services we use written prayers, which help many people, but prayer is a conversation with God, involving him in your life on a daily basis. We all too often just give him a list of what we want, without listening to what he is actually saying to us – conversation is two way (my wife told me to say that …. ) (joke)! God gives us replies to our prayers in so many ways, normally it’s not through hearing an actual voice, it’s through circumstance, or its just blatantly obvious but its often via other people. People often say to folk in Church ‘speak to the big man for me’ .. that’s great and its brilliant to be able to pray for other people and ask God to help etc but he actually wants you and me to talk to him direct …

So at the start of this New Year, when you are facing difficult decisions why not ask someone at the mens group or church to pray, … but don’t forget you can talk to God yourself .. give it a go…..

Image Credit: Simon Paps

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