Forty-five years ago, I married a man in love with flying. On our first date, he rented a small airplane to fly us over the Los Angeles Basin as we shared a pizza. When he asked me to marry him, that man made sure I knew that flying would an important part of our future when he asked, “How’d ya like to join the Air Force?” (All these years later, I still find myself smiling as I remember saying, “Yes!”–even though a small part of me wondered if he was an Air Force recruiter! I was quite relieved when (four days later) he handed me a brochure titled, The Air Force Wife!)
On those occasions when we fly together, I always marvel at how carefully he looks over every inch of the outside of the airplane, making sure nothing is loose or missing. He does the same thing once we get into the cockpit, handing me the checklist to read aloud as he confirms each section is in good order.
After watching him commit to memory so much about each airplane’s systems and procedures for so many decades, I asked him why a checklist was even really necessary? This was his answer:
“A checklist is a necessity because human memory is fallible.
We get into trouble when we forget parts,
add what isn’t there,
or do things in the wrong order.
To go through the checklist verbatim makes sure nothing is overlooked.”
Bottom line? Flying is serious and sometimes risky business. Whenever there is an accident, especially when there is loss of life, there is always a team sent to determine the cause of the crash. There can be many reasons cited when a plane comes down, the one that is most dreaded and hardest to bear is, “pilot error“, because it implies the accident could have somehow been avoided.
As I reflect on how essential reviewing a checklist is before every flight,
I am convinced that Christians have a responsibility to rely
on the Scriptures themselves, rather than memorization,
to navigate a world filled with danger.
I do not mean to say that Scripture memorization has no value–because it certainly does! However, there is always a danger of misapplication when it is taken out of context. In the Counseling Room, no matter how knowledgable a Client may be when it comes to familiarity with Scripture, there is always danger for “pilot error.” We are fallen, fallible beings who need the wisdom of the Scriptures–within its context–to keep us on track. Hebrews 4:12 affirms our need:
“For the Word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The wonderful thing about investing ourselves in the Scriptures, is that they offer so much more than the basics of living. Through this “alive” and “active” entity, the Creator beckons us into a relationship with Him. This, my friend, is the call to risk everything we perceive as being “safe”, for something larger and far richer than anything we can humanly imagine. In his second letter to the church at Corinth Paul wrote:
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
II Corinthians 5:17
If you have surrendered your heart to Christ, celebrate His provision of the Scriptures and His Spirit to help you stay on the path He has marked out for you. (Ephesians 2:10)
A faith that takes flight is alive and active.
Such a faith reflects the constant nurturing of the Scriptures
through the working of God’s Spirit.
In difficulty and well as in times of ease,
a faith intent on worshiping God is one that ultimately soars.
So . . . no matter where you are in your life, God calls you not to deal with the challenges and joys of life in your own strength–too much room for “pilot error”! Instead, remembering “the old has passed away . . . new things have come”, go to the Scriptures with intentionality to get to know Him better. The following are some passages that are some favorites of mine:
“Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness;
tremble before Him all the earth.”
Psalm 104:2-4 makes me shiver with wonder:
“He wraps Himself with light as with a garment;
He stretches out the heavens as with a tent
and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds His chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds His messengers,
flames of fire His servants.”
I love the powerful images in Isaiah 4o:27-31:
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Of course there are so many more . . . if you have the time, please share some of your favorites in the comments section.
Now for a little earthly honesty: When I met my husband I was full of fear when it came to flying. In fact, I hid my fears from him because I wanted to get to know the guy with the twinkly eyes better. Over time I admitted my struggle to him–did my best to support him in his career–but it was tough. A breakthrough for me came in early 2002,. I was preparing to fly 3,000 miles from my home, when I came upon a verse I had read many times. Somehow, it seemed to jump off the page with new meaning as it connected with my problem:
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Ka-pow! God spoke to my heart at that moment with an assurance I had never fully appreciated. I realized that there is nothing that can rob me of one moment of the life God ordained from the beginning of time. The wonderful news is that it is the same for you! I urge you: fly to Him with whatever burden is weighing on your heart–NOW! Release it to Him with thanksgiving, as you enjoy the wonder of His faithfulness . . . All to His Glory!