"I love it when a plan comes together."
This summer's reboot of The A-Team explodes into movie theatres with all the excitement and action of the original television series - and despite all the mayhem on screen, at its core, there is still a good plan.
Set in the current Iraq war, this team is a four-person "alpha squad" of special forces soldiers who have a knack for creativity in their missions - with a near-perfect success rate. It includes John "Hannibal" Smith (Liam Neeson), the leader of the group; Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper), the suave public face of the operation who can acquire most anything with his charm; Bosco "B.A." Baracus (Quintan "Rampage" Jackson), the team's muscle and driver; and H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley), the team's pilot who is possibly insane (though we're never 100% sure).
Like the original series, the A-Team is sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit, framed by other covert operatives in the military and government - this time to secure an illegal treasury plates (with which whomever has it can produce counterfeit U.S. currency). But as we would expect, there is a bigger plan in the works: the team is able to escape from prison and embark on the journey to find the plates and, in so doing, clear their names.
Yes, there is a lot of action and explosions, noise and chaos that ensues (would you expect anything less from a movie like this, though?). But through it all, no matter how impossible the odds, what is most noticable is how Hannibal always keeps his cool and remains calm - for he knows the plans that he and his team have crafted will surely end in success.
Hannibal's calm presence and his reliance on a surefire plan was a trademark of the original television show and it's a major aspect of this summer's reboot movie. And at the end of every mission, reflecting on a job well done, Hannibal speaks his famous line, "I love it when a plan comes together."
While our own lives may not include riding an army tank plummeting to the ground or hatching a prison escape from a German mental hospital, it can sometimes seem chaotic and overwhelming. We might feel like covert military operatives are on our case, chasing us down and keeping us on the run, through our jobs, our schooling, our rat race, or even in our family.
People today are busy, living lives that resemble the complexity of The A-Team movie. But to get through the mess, to endure any suffering or anxiety, it's best to have a plan.
Laying out life goals, formulating plans for the future, and setting a direction in which to head can be a great way to make it through the chaos of everyday life. What is our plan? Where are we going? How are we getting there? If one were to respond to those questions with "I'm not sure" or "I'm waiting to see where life takes me," then getting through the hurricanes of the world can be much more dificult. Instead, taking a cue from Hannibal Smith might be a good idea.
I have found that, when life starts looking like The A-Team movie, I take time out in prayer to collect my thoughts and have a conversation with God - and in so doing, create a plan or at least a direction in which to head. There may be a lot of good options, but coming to a decision and charting a singular course can make all the difference.
When Hannibal was sent to prison, he had six months to reflect and contemplate his plan. He was able to figure out what needed to happen next to bring order to the chaos, to prove his innocence, and to do what was right for the country. In our own lives, we don't need to go to prison, but we may consider a retreat or a time of prayerful contemplation when life gets overwhelming. And in that conversation with God, we might hear what Jeremiah heard in the Hebrew Scriptures: "For I know the plans I have for you... they are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future full of hope." (Jer. 29:11).
God knows the plan. We must also know our plan. Then in the midst of the struggle and the busyness of work, school, home, and family, we can keep our calm like Hannibal Smith. And with God by our side, we can say with confidence: "I love it when a plan comes together." Amen.