CI is a crisp, plain-talk statement that appears at the top of every order, clarifying the desired end-state of operations. The CI never specifies so much detail that it risks being rendered obsolete by unpredictable events. The army believes that with a clear CI, you could lose the ability to execute the original plan, but still never lose the responsibility of executing the intent.
I’m often surprised with God’s apparent reticence to give detailed plans. In fact, usually I don’t even receive detailed sentences. I’ve learned with God you have to be listening. Although you wouldn’t know that based on much of my prayer life. Forgetting that the burden is actually on me to wait and not on Him I plead for God to listen to me! He responds. Sometimes. What follows is usually a short, controlled response… “Go”, “Wait”, “Pray”, etc… He doesn’t seem to be too worried about the details. Although one could argue he used to be. Take a look at Leviticus or Numbers… yeah, lots of details. But things didn’t go quite right with the detailed plan. God, desiring mercy over sacrifice (Psalm 40:6, Micah 6) and faith over rules (Galatians 3) switched things up. In a jaw-dropping adaptation of the plan He chose to clothe Himself in humanity. Trading in the predictability of heaven for the unpredictability of earth He was tempted just like us! These intense temptations, these dark emotions… this exposure to the volatility of the human condition forged what I would now like to call the Commander’s Intent according to Jesus, “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself" which is good to know because unforeseen obstacles breakdown plans in life just as they do in the battlefield.
-I have a sister going through a complete job change at mid-life. Unexpected.
-I have a sister-in-grace going through the loss of her father. Unforeseen.
-I spoke with a friend recently who was broken hearted about some decisions their pastor had made. Not in the plan.
-Oh, and I know of pastor who is struggling because of decisions made by a few of his parishioners. Unpredicted.
-And then there's me. Yeah, I've got issues! I was unaware of them as well. Believe me, they weren't in my plan.
This is a reminder that all these problems, the unplanned scenarios, these situations where we feel as though we are squinting through a fog, ... they aren't the intent. The plans might be derailed, but above all else the CI remains: Love God and love others.