I love flying on planes. The exhilaration and rush of taking off, the roller coaster like ending- what’s not to like? As I become older, however, I feel more discomfort. Concern about wanting to see my family at the end of the terminal . Concern with sharing the gospel before it’s too late.
The peaceful take off today was lovely. I could end this story here but for the fact that Los Angeles was experiencing such heavy, windy rainfall. This kept creeping into my thoughts, ebbing back and forth into my mind. Thankfully, I fell asleep for most of the flight, but it was only a matter of time until we hit the storm.
This plane trip was the scariest flight of my life. The cloudless sky faded to frivolous cloud wisps, which then gave way to menacing grey clouds pregnant with rain. Angry rain clouds obscured the sweet sunlight that had glinted its golden rays on little bodies of water along the coast. Little water rivulets trickled along the windows, first in a lazy meandering, then faster and faster until little streams of rainwater raced one another on the glass.
A few bumps here and there are no big deal on such a long flight, particularly on a windy day. That was only the beginning of it. The turbulence metamorphosed from fun interruptions to the inevitable thinking of death. My seat shook like it was set on top of a galloping horse, and the lights zapped out at one point. The plane jolted a few times in random directions, and it was everything I could do to keep thoughts of pilots losing control out of my mind.
The funny thing is, the first verse I thought of was Ephesians 4:14-15:
Which is interesting. I presume this part of Scripture crept in because I was tossed about by the waves. I swayed with the wind. I had no sturdy foundation under my feet. What a terribly confusing and terrifying situation it is to have no solid ground! For so many years, I was a child. “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things”– 1 Corinthians 13: 11. I trusted in my own self-righteousness for salvation, reasoning that by my “good” life I could somehow deserve eternal life with the perfect God who has perfect standards (Matthew 5:48). By God’s grace, He allowed me to see my folly in despising “wisdom and instruction” because I felt I was capable of everything (Proverbs 1: 7). He allowed me to set my faith in His eternal Word and find an inextinguishable joy and hope for eternal life.
Sitting in that window seat, I trembled in awe at the power of God, a power infinitely grander than that of mere waves and winds. I wondered over and over again if God willed me to be taken into his “Celestial City” so soon (Pilgrim’s Progress, Paul Bunyan). Honestly, I yearn to be with Him. I want to meet my amazing Savior and live for all eternity with Him! I want to praise him forever and ever, without any distractions such as those on this earth! What a marvelous act of grace and love to allow me to know what joys I have waiting after death! At the same time, my fearful heart panicked, thinking, the waves look so big, why is the plane losing altitude so quickly, am I going to drown? I prayed silently, crying out to my Abba Father: Father, if it is Your will for this plane to crumble in the storm, if it is Your will that Your glory is to be magnified and shown to the world through this, if it is Your will I leave this world tonight, then Your will be done. The next few minutes were filled with uncertainty in the future but hope for what is better. By God’s grace, He allowed the plane to land roughly, but safely.
He knows what is best for us, loving us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for our disgusting, filthy sins. Who can fathom such love? The joy of that knowledge is such comfort to my soul. Yet, no one can ever hope to enter the Kingdom without the key: faith. And to think that it is all God who saves and gives us the ability to have faith, and man has not an ounce of responsibility or ability in himself- that is incredible. We are so helpless in our sinful depravity. God is so merciful and just that He provided the perfect solution: Christ! Who can’t rejoice upon hearing such beautiful news?
I am so thankful to be at home, safely arriving and enjoying wonderful time with my family. I am so thankful to know that either way, I can rejoice. I am so thankful to know what is waiting for me after I leave this life.
I’ll have to get on the plane again in about a week. The winds and waves may still be a menace. But I must remember, as I hope you all do, the omnipotent Father has control over all things. We need not fear, as Isaiah 41:10 declares: