REFLECTIONS FROM THE COCKPIT
I pull the seatbelt snugly in place and adjust the earphones. Spread before me are 30 gauges and dials, 50 toggle switches and a dozen other electrical controls. I am sitting in the co-pilot’s seat of a nine-passenger Mitsubishi twin-engine turbo-prop on a business trip. My only job is to keep my arms and legs out of the way while Earl, the pilot, takes care of the flying. I am impressed with his skills — and am reminded of several spiritual truths as well.
Looks can be deceiving, I quickly learn, as Earl avoids a tall and picturesque column of clouds. Who would guess that this white fluff contains a thunderstorm and turbulent weather. Viewing the world from five miles up also provides a different slant on the little storms of daily life. This perspective reminds me that attitude is more valuable than accumulations — that no “bottom line” outweighs kindness and respect for human dignity.
I am also reminded of the difference between security and assurance. We were just as safe before I learned about automatic pilot, and the satellite navigational system that tells us where we are and constantly pinpoints the 20 nearest airfields at any given moment. Yet knowing those details certainly increases my assurance. Trusting Jesus, we are safe in God’s hands, but the more we learn of God’s ways the greater our assurance. Earl’s piloting also reminds me of what it means to “walk by faith not by sight.” He always trusts his instruments and the instructions from air traffic control centers — even when they seem to contradict his visual perception of reality. God’s Word is our safe guide through life, not our feelings or earth-bound perceptions.
Finally, this cockpit experience impresses me with the fact that we don’t have to understand something to enjoy its benefits. I cannot imagine how this plane climbs to 22,000 feet in the sky. Or how we can travel more than 1,000 miles in the dark and land squarely on a two-mile strip of pavement at the other end. How much less can I understand the God who created the principles that make all this happen. And how very thankful I am that by trusting God we finite, mortal humans can enjoy the reality of the spiritual realm which not one of us can begin to adequately explain.