When the Heat is On, Leaders Lead
When the Heat is On, Leaders Lead
It was late in the evening as the military Casualty Affairs Officer and the Chaplain approached the door. After knocking, the door opened, and they were greeted by “the look.” It is no ordinary look but one that communicated the knowledge that something was wrong. They were ushered into the living room. The family members sat down and heard the dreaded words, “It is with deep sorry and regret that we must inform you of the death of your (husband, wife, son or daughter).” There is no way to convey the feelings and there are no words to express the pain, so they cry.
I pray that you’ve never had to go through this experience; but it is a safe bet that you’ve experienced your share of sadness and adversity. Adversity can’t be scheduled, it just finds you. It can find you stranded on the highway or being laid off from work. Maybe it found you when the market crashed, during a routine physical examination, a cancelled family vacation, grieving a loss or delivering bad news at work.
When confronted with adversity, it is normal to respond with questions. Who is responsible for this? What’s next? When did it go wrong? What are we going to do? Why me? How am I going to pay the bills? At times like these, we often search for quick answers, easy solutions, and sometimes someone to blame. Whatever the reason, one thing that I can guarantee is adversity will come. But the real question is, when adversity comes, how will you respond?
Abraham Lincoln said, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Your role as leader comes with authority and power, but it also comes with great responsibility whether at home, church, or work. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, leaders part the “Seas of Doubt and Fear.” A leader’s presence can bring calm and stability to a chaotic situation, and their character serves to steer the path in times of uncertainty. You may not know when adversity will arrive but be assured it will come.
Leadership isn’t tested in times of prosperity, but during times of adversity, when the heat is on. Adversity tested David in the scorching desert as he faced Goliath, it tested Daniel in a sweltering den of lions, and it tested Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace. Adversity does more than challenge your ability, it challenges your faith. Adversity asks the question, whose are you?
In the Hispanic culture the question, whose are you? has special significance. In Spanish, “whose are you?” is translated to ¿De quién eres? It is asked to establish relationship, community and commonality. Are you a distant relative? Are our families from the same town? The answers help establish the relationship and anchors, and cements, the bonds between individuals. Bonds of friendship and kinship are important to us, especially when facing adversity. Proverbs 17:17 reminds us “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
I doubt that anyone would argue that Jesus experienced adversity. He fasted and was tempted in the desert, denied and betrayed by His disciples, imprisoned, beaten and crucified. If anyone graduated from the school of hard knocks, it is Jesus. Yet, there was no need to ask Jesus who He belonged to; but if anyone had asked ¿De quién eres? The answer would be found in Matthew 26:39 (TPT):
“… My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”
When adversity tests your faith remember, the words of Joseph M. Scriven in, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Anchoring your faith in Jesus does more than give you strength and comfort. It reaffirms, through Him, that all things are possible for those led by faith. It reaffirms His promise (John 16:33, TPT):
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
Challenge: When adversity finds you, and the heat is on, anchor your faith in Jesus. When you model His example, you will be transformed. John 15:15 (VOICE) tells us:
I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends.
With Jesus as your friend, “No one will be able to stop you … (Deuteronomy 11:25, GW).”
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