LESSONS FROM FLYING
My father, being a pilot, has often taken me up on flights. I can still recall the thrill of breaking through the clouds on a dark and dreary day. As the plane would pass through, breaking above the layer of clouds, I was amazed to see the beautiful sun still shining in the sky, even on the darkest of days. The obvious lesson in this is simple. We must learn to rise above the dark feelings, clinging to the promises of God until we break through the clouds of despair and lay hold of Jesus, the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). Tragically, we often think God is against us in our trials, but this is an inaccurate reading.
Another lesson my father shared with me from his flying experience was that when a pilot is flying through clouds, they must not rely on their feelings, but place implicit faith in the instruments of the plane to determine their orientation. There have been occasions in which pilots have become disoriented in clouds, feeling as if they were upside down when the instruments read the opposite. Those who trusted their feelings and ignored the instruments ended up in near peril or even dead because they flew by feelings. This is often the result of those who fly their religious experience by feelings.
Many people who base their relationship with God on feelings end up making shipwreck of their faith. Your only hope for survival lies in rising above feelings and placing your faith in God’s word. This must be the anchor of our faith. When feelings of doubt or despair sweep over us, we must hold on by faith, but our faith to the anchor of God’s word, for as Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus was telling us that our hope must not be anchored in our feelings, but in God’s word. In God’s goodness. In God’s faithfulness.
We are not saved on the basis of our faithfulness, but because of God’s faithfulness. It is in His faithfulness that we find our hope. You see, we may bring darkness upon ourselves, but God uses our trials to draw us to repentance and change. Listen to this promise. God says, “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you” (Isa. 54:8). God, at times, temporarily leaves us in darkness in order to draw us to turn to Him so He can save us.
I don’t know what trial you are going through. Perhaps you’ve fallen into sin. Don’t despair. Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). Perhaps you are suffering some physical ailment. Hang on. The Bible says, “The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed” (Ps. 41:3). Maybe you are going through marital problems. Continue “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…even as Christ forgave you” (Col. 3:13, 14) Grief? “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). Suffering loneliness or a broken heart? God “heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3). Financial problems? Concern over your future? “Do not worry” (Matt. 6:25). Whatever you are going through, God has a solution. Read the promises God has for you, then claim those promises by faith. Learn to fly above your feelings and rest in the arms of Jesus.