Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rough Air

The flight from San Diego to Canada should have been smooth. No storms stood between us and our destination, no prediction at all of rough weather. But I came to realize that sometimes unexpected circumstances can erupt without warning.

My husband, Alan, and I were embarking on a dream vacation to Banff National Park with two other couples. We had been planning this for an entire year, showing each other pictures of Lake Louise and training for the hike to the Plain of Ten Glaciers. We were like kids waiting to open presents at Christmas as we got on the plane.

All went smoothly for a time as we talked, fine-tuning our plans. But somewhere over Washington State we hit a few bumps in the air. The kind that make you sit up straight and check to make sure that your seatbelt is fastened.

airplane in storm

Right on cue, the pilot came on the intercom: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are encountering some turbulence. Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts.”

No sooner were the words spoken than the aircraft lurched again, shuddering from side-to-side as it reacted to strong crosswinds.

Some of the passengers gasped as the plane began a roller coaster of being tossed up and down and sideways; a few turned a little green. The rest of the travelers grew very quiet, waiting to see if things got better or worse.

Except for me. At the first dip of the plane, a slight giggle escaped. As the turbulence increased, I fought to hold back laughter. The people around me looked at me askew. I’m sure they assumed I was nearing hysteria when the unstable air tossed us the most and I literally had to clap my hand to keep the laughter from escaping.

But I wasn’t hysterical; I was truly enjoying the rock-and-roll ride!

The reason? Simple.

Even though I didn’t know him, I trusted the pilot to get us to our destination. So there was some turbulence, a rough patch; surely he wouldn’t fly us through this storm if there was any real danger. I just focused on how much I would enjoy Banff when we got there. Trusting the pilot allowed me to have peace, even in the storm.

And I didn’t even know the pilot! I’d never seen him, never spoke to him, and certainly never spent any time with him.

If I could trust someone I had never met so implicitly, how much more can I trust Jesus, my heavenly pilot? I know Him. I have seen Him working in my life and the lives of others. There is never a time that He is not with me, never a time He is not working all things together for good, never a time He does not act in perfect wisdom and love.

Jesus knows where He wants to take me, what it will take to get me there, and the best route to travel. Turbulent times are no threat to His ability to bring His plans to fulfillment. In fact, those rough patches may be necessary to go through to get where He wants me to go. Hard times and scary circumstances serve to develop my faith, my trust, and my character in new and deeper ways. Perhaps it’s the only way it could happen.

I don’t need to fear them, because I trust my pilot.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.                                                                                                                 James 1:2-4

Further reflection:

  1. Has there been a time in your life where you face unexpected, frightening circumstances?
  2. What did you learn from that time?

Father, I do trust You. You have proven Yourself bigger than turbulent times and scary circumstances. When things are hard, You have been the most present. Thank You that Your plans are always for my good and Your glory.

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