During World War II, my grandfather, James Aaron Swindle (Papa James), was a bomber pilot who flew numerous missions over occupied Europe and the Reich.
During those missions, many of his fellow pilots would not return. It was a reality in 1944.
But, for those pilots and personnel who joined in the bombing missions, reliance on one another was key for survival. Papa James used to say that “if it wasn’t for my wing men and the Lord protecting me from German artillery, I would not have made it back.”
Thankfully, Papa James did make it back and lived a fulfilling life.
The concept of the “wing man” has survived within my family and close group of friends; but in a little different way. (By the way, there are “wing women” too.)
I am not a soldier, pilot, or in imminent danger of losing my life (at least I hope not.)
But, I am a 42 year old man moving through life seeking God’s will for me to the best of my ability. Life’s journey is different for everyone except in one way.
We are all challenged with difficulties, hardship, and problems.
I choose the word “challenge” to define all of the above.
When a challenge emerges, there is a decision to make. Do I “handle” this on my own? Or, Do I turn this challenge over to God?
Like many people, I instinctively choose to handle the challenge myself. Only after frustration and sometimes failure do I realize what I am really supposed to do; give it over to God.
When the better choice is finally made, I pray and ask for His guidance.
But, something else comes into play during these times as well; my wing men.
Many of my dilemmas surround what to do in legal scenarios. I usually try to think my way to a solution. Since that is usually fruitless, I turn to my wing men for advice and counsel.
Almost every time I make that call, my wing man somehow provides the insight that I was completely missing. He or she can step back from the challenge, remove the emotion involved, and oftentimes render the correct advice that in needed. Relief sets in, proper action is taken, and the challenge is properly addressed.
Personal and business issues come up for all of us. The same reasoning applies here even though you may have different wing men for different dilemmas.
Sometimes, consulting with these trusted advisors does not provide an immediate solution. But patience and prayer can lead to the resolution of a challenge.
Throughout life, God places people along our path to teach us, help us grow, and to confront us. He also naturally places our wing men beside to use as a resource in overcoming challenges and achieving peace.
Each of us are wing men for others as well. God has placed us in the lives of others to support, encourage, and advise them along the way.
Who are your wing men? Are you a wing man for other people? Do you consult with these men and women who God placed into your life?
I hope so. Life is not a journey based on self-sufficiency. Each of us has a purpose.
We just may need that wing man to help us figure it out.