When God pulls a Crazy Ivan and expects you to follow

When God pulls a Crazy Ivan and expects you to follow


I love the movie, The Hunt for Red October. I know Sean Connery isn’t Russian, and I’m not a huge Alec Baldwin fan, although I adore Sam Neill. I don’t even know much about submarines or Tom Clancy, but I do love the story.

It’s a surprisingly quotable movie too. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve used the phrase “One ping only” in various conversations. But there’s one phrase in particular that always makes me sit forward and pay attention: “Conn, Sonar! Crazy Ivan!”

Jones (Courtney B. Vance), the sonar operator aboard the Dallas, is one of my favorite characters in the movie. A Crazy Ivan is a submarine maneuver that Russian captains would use to make sure they weren’t being followed.

NERDY NOTE: A Crazy Ivan is also mentioned in the pilot episode of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

The captain turns the ship suddenly, and if another ship is following them, they’ll collide. It’s an insane maneuver, but that’s why it was called a Crazy Ivan. And it worked.

And that’s all well and good within the lore of a movie or the handbook of maneuvers for Cold War submarine pilots, but what do you do when God pulls a Crazy Ivan on you?

You think He’s leading you one direction. You expect Him to keep going straight. And then—out of the blue—He takes a wild turn, or He turns around completely.

Just when you think you see how He’s going to work your story out, BOOM! He’s done a 180, and He’s heading back in the direction you just came from. And He expects you to follow! It’s beyond frustrating. It’s maddening.

And that’s why God gave us passages like 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful.

That’s what I need to hear this morning. God is faithful. Even when it feels like He’s veering off course, God is faithful. Even when the plans I thought were going to work out come crashing down around my ears, God is faithful. Even when my dreams don’t come together like I expected, God is faithful.

I can’t see the end of the road. I can’t see how the pieces fit together, but God can. And because He’s good, I can trust that His solution will be good.

When it feels like God is changing course, He’s really just taking a different route to get me to my dream. And He knows why we need to go that way, even if I don’t. Maybe the way I would have gone wouldn’t have worked out. Maybe the way I wanted to go was more dangerous.

To me, it feels like God is pulling a Crazy Ivan because all I can see is that He’s changing course. But He’s the captain. He knows where He’s going, and what feels crazy to me makes perfect sense to Him. Who’s to say He isn’t navigating around a difficult life circumstance that would have hurt me?

Maybe God isn’t providing the way you thought He would, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t providing. So don’t despair when God turns down a road you don’t expect. Get excited. God is active and moving in your life, and He’s leading you down the right path to get you to your destination.


A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

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