Beyond Butter Bar

Will it be Luck or the Lord?

by Brig Gen David Warner, USAF (Ret.), OCF ED

Thirty-one years ago, 2ndLt David Warner was unleashed on an unsuspecting Air Force, reporting in to Tinker AFB, OK. 


Shortly after my arrival, I was told to report to the auditorium. As I paraded over as summoned, I cast my gaze over the other lieutenants and realize every one of the new "butter bars" is in attendance. In unison, we rise to our feet as the wing commander, a one-star general, enters the room and without pause begins to recite from memory his leadership philosophy.

During his thesis on the subject, he startled the assembled mass by declaring there was no such thing as luck—he didn't believe in it. He went on to provide us with his formula for luck:

"When preparation meets opportunity"

As he broke it down, the light bulb in my head came on. Most of us have stood in amazement as we watched our contemporaries soar past us toward promotion, special assignments—you name the reward. How often have we exclaimed, "Man are they lucky!" or "What a lucky break!" 

What we probably didn't notice was all the hard work that went into placing them in that particular situation in the first place. 

Yet I can also recall seeing others get the "lucky" break but fumble it badly. Or others who have prepared diligently only to see opportunities slip away.  

As I came to Christ, I continued to ponder this idea of "luck" until it finally dawned on me—it is our job to "prepare," of which prayer is the key part, and then wait on the Lord for the "opportunity." 

Nehemiah is an outstanding example of one who prepared through prayer and petition as he sought to rebuild Jerusalem. In the presence of King Artaxerxes, he was given the opportunity to speak before the king. After a quick commo check with the Lord, Nehemiah laid his request before the king—and he was given all he asked for. 

Was this luck? No! When the king provided the opportunity, Nehemiah was ready. He had prepared.

For the new butter bars, the OCF staff representatives, local leaders, mentors, and others have conspired to prepare you for your launch. For the past four years, we have prayed for you and equipped you for this moment. As you begin your race, remember what it means to prepare. Learn to be competent in your chosen profession as well as competent in your walk. Learn and discern Scripture—it's vital.

We are proud of you for choosing to serve your nation and are honored to come alongside as you run this race the Lord has set before you!  At every base, post, camp, and station, we have OCF members who desire to prepare you for the next step. 

Through one-on-one fellowships, home Bible studies, and discipling, we can help prepare you to be ready for the opportunities the Lord has in store for you! Good "luck!"