At 16, I decided to obtain my pilot’s license. The lessons I liked least were those spent ‘under the hood.’ The flight instructor gave me a strange looking plastic device that went on my head like a cap with an extended tube on the front. This device did not allow me to see outside of the airplane, restricting my vision to the instrument panel.
I was learning how to maintain safe flight if I found myself in weather conditions that obscured the external reference points normally used. By scanning those dials and indicators, trusting the data, I was able to fly straight and level and control rates of climb or descent. He would direct me – “Jerry, make a turn to heading 270 while descending to 3000 feet.” It was easier to do IF I could see the horizon, the ground beneath me, but weather could develop that would take away those reference points, and my life would depend on being able to fly by instrument.
We are living in a time when many of the external reference points we replied on for stability are obscured or absent. We are not gathering with friends, are not in church, are spending more time alone, dealing with a deluge of uncertainty. It is as if we have flown into a bank of fog. There is a real threat that we could lose our bearings, go off course, and perhaps even find ourselves in peril of crashing. In my instrument training, the instructor warned me, time and again, to trust the instruments. “Don’t trust your gut!” he warned. Are you keeping life steady, flying straight and level these days? Or, are you letting emotions – fear, panic, despair, recklessness – rule?
When we cannot see the future, when the things that kept us steady are taken away, the choice we must make is to TRUST God, to WALK BY FAITH, and to CONTINUE to do what’s right. The Word teaches us that our Christian life, in the best and worst of times, is a “walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NKJV)
Know this – we are never truly alone! It may seem to us in a time of crisis that no one knows how we feel, or understands that temptation that is pulling at us, or can grasp how the situation is affecting us. When we slip into what I call the “Elijah syndrome” (“Lord, I am the only one left, the only one who is going through this situation.” See the story in 1 Kings 18 and 19 if you do not understand the reference) there is a promise of the Presence of God that is ours to claim. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.’” (Hebrews 13:5).
If you have lost sight, temporarily, of the external references that keep you steady, trust the things you know from God’s Word. Stay steady. Love, forgive, trust, refuse temptation, lean on the Lord. I love the invitation of the Psalm that teaches us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NKJV) My flight instructor told me that panic kills pilots! “Jerry, if you find yourself lost or in weather that you did not anticipate, do not panic. Trust your instruments and keep your airplane flying straight and level.” That is sound advice for life, too.
Here is a word from the Word. “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.” is the cry of the prophet, Habakkuk. (2:4, NLT) The book of Hebrews repeats his declaration, amplifying it for the disciple. “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” (Hebrews 10:36-39, NLT)
(a beautiful song, a confession of our need)
There’s nothing worth more that will ever come close
No thing can compare You’re our living hope
I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone
In Your Presence Lord
Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your Presence Lord
Your Presence Lord
Oh God how we love Your Presence Lord
Let us become more aware of Your Presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness (Lord)
Bryan Torwalt | Katie Torwalt© 2011 Capitol CMG Genesis (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Jesus Culture Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
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