Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fearless flying

Boarding time was coming to a close so I filed into the dwindling line to enter the jet-way leading to the airplane. I made my way down the ramp and onto the packed Boeing. Glancing at my ticket I found my seat number and proceeded to the very back of the plane. It figures that when you buy your ticket three days in advance you end up in the seat right next to the bathroom. Good thing this flight is only an hour long, I thought to myself
I took my seat and, like a dutiful passenger, stored my bags securely in the overhead compartment. I pulled my book from my purse and then pushed the rest of its contents tightly under the seat in front of me. With my seat-belt fastened and chair in an upright position I was all ready for takeoff. 
As I got comfortable I noticed a woman to my right just a row ahead of me. Although her chair was in its proper position and all her personal belongings were stowed she was certainly not ready for takeoff. Not mentally, that is. She looked spooked. Her hands were fidgeting. Anxieties were written all over her face. This woman was clearly suffering from Pteromerhanophobia. Also known as the fear of flying. For her sake, I hoped for a smooth take off and turbulence-free ride.
When the plane's wheels left the ground it seemed as though we were in for smooth skies. The plane took off with ease and minimal time spent lingering on the runway. 
But then we hit a bumpand then another. The plane shook and swayed. My eyes immediately shifted to the nervous woman to my right, one row up. Sure enough, she looked terrified. Her hands were gripping the arm rests of her chair so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. She laid her head back on her seat and was breathing deeply, trying to calm herself. With every bump, bounce and shift the frightened woman cringed and tensed even further.
In a few minutes that I'm sure felt like hours to the tense traveler, the airplane leveled out and the ride once again became smooth and steady. The pilot came over the PA system and assured his passengers that we had just experienced a little bit of turbulence but that it appeared we were in for clear skies for the remainder of our trip. We were told to keep our belts securely fastened though, just in case.
The fearful woman seemed to relax just a bit. The voice of the pilot appeared to have given her a comfort and assurance that all was well and that the plane was not just a blink of an eye away from falling from the sky. She just needed to hear that she was safe and that the pilot had it all under control.

Like that anxious passenger, sometimes I need to hear that all is well and that I am safe and secure in the arms of my Almighty Pilot, God. When life looks bumpy and unstable I long for Him to come over the PA system and say, "I am in control of this. We will get to the destination safely. Just keep your seat-belt fastened."
Sometimes I get a fear of flying on God's plane. Although I know He is the perfect Pilot who never loses control of the plane, sometimes I get anxious when the skies don't seem to be just right. The low level clouds and thunder in the distance cause my nerves to act up.
"Are we about to fly into that storm?... Won't that be bumpy?... I'd rather fly in the other direction, away from the turbulent skies." I think to myself. But the way of the cloudless skies isn't always the direction on God's flight path. Sometimes to get where He wants me to be I have to travel through  the shaking and shifting of a storm in order to get to my final destination.
It is in those times of turbulence that I need to reach for the promises of God, my Pilot. I need the reassurance found in the words of Isaiah 41:10. "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." No matter how fierce the storm or how dark the skies, God will uphold me through it all. He will see that the flight path He has me on won't be disrupted by even the roughest turbulence. He has the path of life in His hands and He has the destination in His sights. Nothing can thwart His plans. 

While flying with God there are times when fears will threaten to keep you and I gripping our seat for dear life. Take heart, God has not abandoned the controls and He cannot be overcome by the winds that buffet your plane. He is in control of it all. He will see His children through to their ultimate destination. There is no storm that can throw off God's will, disrupt His route or ground His plane. He is the over-comer of the storms and the mighty Pilot. So take your seat with comfort and peace because God is behind the controls. There is no reason to fear. 

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