As a 16 year old boy, I was privileged to take an adventure and I still treasure the memories. I learned to fly small airplanes! In the Summer of 1971, my got out of the Cessna 150, “Take it around the pattern three times!” My heart pounded. After completing my first solo flight, I could not wait to share the news with my family. A few weeks later it was time for the first cross-country flight. For the first time, I would fly outside of the immediate area of my home airport. George and I plotted my course from Pittstown, NJ to Annville, PA, about an hour’s flight time. As the ground fell away, I could see the farm where we lived off to the right. A moment later, I flew over Delaware Valley High School, on the left; then on and over the Delaware River.
Caught up in the experience, I set my charts aside and flew on. I neglected a couple of checkpoints, but kept my eye on the compass, flying on the heading that the chart indicated. 30 minutes later it was clear that the ground features did not match what the chart said I should be seeing. I was flying over an urban area that wasn’t supposed to be along my flight path. I was lost! I used the VOR radio navigation equipment and found that I was miles south of my planned flight course! Using my training, When I returned to the home airport, the instructor and I discussed my adventure. I encountered winds aloft! He explained what I knew in theory, but failed to observe in practice. The airplane was pointed in the right direction but because of a cross wind, an invisible force, it was blown south of my plotted course. My inexperience and lack of vigilance led to being lost for a time.
We can be blown off course in life, too. We set a great goal. We do the planning. It appears we are moving along in the right direction. Days or months later, it’s evident we are in a place or situation we never anticipated. Life’s prevailing winds: peer pressure, cultural influences, business or economic issues, spiritual attack, a failure of health, hidden sins, and the like, carry us steadily, but imperceptibly off course. The Bible says, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1, NLT) Drifting away, pushed by the prevailing winds far off course from a godly life, is a real danger for us. In my ministry I no one has ever told that they woke up one day and suddenly decided that to be done with Christ. But I can count dozens of once fervent disciples who drifted away. Their passion for God cooled little by little as they failed to make course correction. Jesus said that the seed of the Word can be choked out by “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in … making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19, NIV)
But, there is a promise that we can hold onto tightly. We never need make our way through life alone. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor, ever- present. Jesus promised that “when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. … he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me.” (John 16:7-15, NLT)
Where are you today in life? Have you checked the charts lately?
Are you tuning into the Holy Spirit’s voice, allowing Him to provide guidance as you meditate and pray?
Have you opening the Scripture and letting the wisdom of God’s principles and experiences of God’s people provide check-points?
Here’s a word from the Word for you to think on today. Forgive me for the edits that make it fit my illustration of flight. I’ve put my edits in brackets. “So watch your step,(flight path) friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and (prevailing winds blowing through your life without your awareness to) throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on (stay on course towards) the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.” (Hebrews 3:12-14, The Message)
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me ‘til I want no more,
Feed me ‘til I want no more.
Open Thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow.
Let the fiery cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer
Be Thou still my strength and shield;
Be Thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan
Bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee,
I will ever give to Thee!
John Hughes | William Williams
© Words: Public Domain