Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trusting in Turbulence

“We are experiencing unexpected turbulence.”

This is not one of my favorite statements. Every time I fly I get a little bit nervous the night before. That nervousness is only heightened by the sudden jerk of the plane at 20,000 feet. As I have been traveling more I have realized how much energy I exert being apprehensive about a shaky airplane. And the root cause of this anxiety? I like to be in control. No matter how many times I am told the statistics about people who die in car accidents versus plane crashes I will still prefer driving every time because at least I feel like I am in control. But that’s really all that it is—a feeling. My perception of control is really no control at all. Despite the fact that I am behind the wheel of the car, there are still many factors out of my little controlled universe.

The root cause of my fear is unbelief in God’s providential hand over my situation. And this is not simply isolated to air travel. My unbelief, though slightly comical in the air, is not so comical when I do not trust that he will fulfill his promises. Whenever I seek assurances of my safety outside of God’s Word I am simply grasping at a false hope that will never save me, even if it is an experienced airline pilot in the seat next to me or the illusion of “safe ground” when I land.

This has practical applications for how I live my every day life. Each time I fly it is a test of my faith in God’s promise to sustain me as long as he desires to keep me. And if I do not make it through a plane flight, or even through a night’s sleep, it is not because God has abandoned me. It is because he has willed it to be so. These are not easy things to live out. There are so many circumstances that cause me to waver in my belief that he is with me and protecting me. But even in those circumstances I must not look to the false hopes that promise temporary safety, I must look to the eternal hope found in the Word of God. I find myself daily fighting my proneness to fear by telling myself “when I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3-4). And even though I do not feel immediate relief all of the time, it is a reminder that these external events that are causing my fear have no control over me. They may harm me, or even kill me, but my hope is sure in the promises of God to keep my soul until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8:38-39).

My life is full of “unexpected turbulence” and this will never end. But what is unexpected to me, is never unexpected to God. What I seek to blindly and foolishly control, he upholds by his righteous right hand. This is good news when I am hit with the “unexpected turbulence” of life—and air.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Powerful thoughts creatively communicated! Thanks for the reminder.