The last time I flew with my youngest son, we were stuck in the very back of a really small plane. Need I say more?
After we hit a long patch of turbulence, I looked back to give him a thumbs up. He was as green as a can of peas. I hurriedly dug around in my purse for the motion sickness tablets. One minute later would have been too late. He was sooo close to losing it.
As we prepare to fly again, (and of course they are calling for storms), I will have several things ready: motion sickness tablets, 7-up, a barf bag,(bigger than the tiny lunch sack they provide), and a cool washcloth. I do not want to be caught off guard in case I get that “green as canned peas” look again.
Rough patches in life are kind of like turbulence.
Usually, they are short, bumpy and make us feel rattled. But I’ve learned that being prepared can help us get through those times without losing it. However, before we get to the good stuff, I just had to add this video of a very scary ride. (You don’t want to miss this!)
I’d rather not find myself experiencing that kind of turbulence, thank you very much. But you know what? Most likely I will. Maybe not on an airplane, but probably in real life.
Priscilla Shirer, dynamic author and speaker, has this to say about unexpected interruptions in life…
“You always thought you knew where you were headed. But now your life’s been interrupted, and these personal goals, hopes, and trajectories are being asked to take a backseat to what God uniquely has in mind for you.” (See more from her book Life Interrupted, available here.)
Friends, our journey is going to be interrupted.
Whether it be an illness, loss of a job or sudden trial, the big question is, how will we handle it without losing it?
When flight attendants instruct us at the beginning of each flight, they show us the safety manual, seat belt, and oxygen mask. They also point out the exits and advise us that we can use our seats as floatation devices. (You do realize that if we ever need those seats, that millions of bums have sat on, we are going to have to strap those nasty things to our bodies). Eew, gross.
But sadly, half the time we don’t really listen to the attendants. We smile at them so they will feel like we are listening, but our minds quickly wander to needing to use the bathroom and wondering if there will be pretzels.
Instructions are important.
Sure, we cannot be prepared for every bad situation. Life takes us down unexpected turns all the time. However, there is a certain preparedness we can cultivate while the plane of life is flying smoothly. And it all begins with the ‘Fasten your seatbelt’ sign.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”(Ephesians 6:14)
In times of uncertainty, it is imperative we know what we believe. What do we know to be true?
Pilots don’t usually panic when the plane hits an air pocket of turbulence. They know what it is and how to handle it. They know what is true about flying an airplane. Here is one pilot’s perspective:
“Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash. Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal. From a pilot’s perspective it is ordinarily seen as a convenience issue, not a safety issue.” (Taken from Patrick Smith’s Ask the Pilot). Read more here.
What if every flyer, frequent or not, had that same perspective? There would be a lot less panic and stress. Even if the ride was bumpy and unpleasant, the knowledge that the plane was not going to crash from turbulence sure would give everyone peace of mind.
And so it is with life. When we are assured that our circumstances are not going to completely do us in or pull us under, we can handle them differently…more effectively.
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” (2Corinthians:8-9)
One of my favorite artists, Sara Groves, sings beautifully about this in her song, The Word.
Sara reminds us of the most reassuring truth we could ever need in the face of life’s turbulence. The Word of God was, is, and always will be…
What turbulence are you riding through? How are you managing?
I’d like to encourage you to buckle that safety belt. Don’t ignore the red, lighted sign any longer. Fasten the belt of truth securely around your waist and sit back knowing you are held by the mighty hand of God. Even when things get really scary and the stuff of life is falling around you, The Pilot has it all in His hands.
Dear one, you can fly through life’s turbulence without losing it. Arm yourself with everything you need; what you know to be true. And fly like you’ve never flown before.