For a number of years, I had no problem with flying on planes. I could get on, fall asleep and be at peace, that is until one day while flying, the plane had to make an emergency landing. We actually had to put our heads between our legs. It truly jacked me up. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a short while later while flying, the plane I was on was struck by lightening twice in the air. From that point forward, I experienced discomfort while flying. When I was scheduled to travel abroad, I spoke with my physician about my phobia. She prescribed a sleep aid, which made my 12 hour flight manageable. Over the years, my family and others close to me have sent up as they say, “much timber” on my behalf for my anxiety with flying. Yesterday, to my surprise during my flight between Atlanta and Florida, I flew without my seat belt fastened. I wondered how that happened for someone as meticulous as I am when it comes to air travel. It seems that the scenario likely reflected me boarding the plane, hurrying to find anything but a middle seat (the tales of Southwest) and get settled. It was chilly, so I immediately placed my jacket across my body. I listened to music via my iPhone, I did some work on my laptop when we reached 10,000 feet and closed my eyes a bit. The ride was fairly smooth and I think I even dozed off. When we landed in Florida about an hour or so later, and arrived at our gate, we heard the “ding,” signaling our okay to move about the cabin to deplane. Upon lifting up my coat, I realized, I’d never secured my seat belt! Me, the one who is uncomfortable with flying, flew without security! As is my custom with the Holy Spirit, I heard, “And there is a lesson for you in this.”
In this season, God is calling me to strengthen my faith through risk taking. Am I alone here? Isn’t it just like our Creator to take something that has frightened me and remind me that no matter what precautions I deliberately take (or not) He will be with me. God desires for us to trust fully in Him. He desires for us to cast our fears and our cares upon Him because He cares (I Peter 5:7). Seat belts are designed to assist us to remain in place. However, when moving in God, one cannot remain stagnant. We must move whether it feels comfortable or not, whether we have a companion or not, whether we feel like it or not. Much to our surprise, our small effort results in an opportunity for God do some of His best work!
I want to have the kind of faith that is mirrored through flying on a plane without my seat belt. While flying you are instructed to remain belted unless one is moving through the cabin. In our faith walk, I am not suggesting that we tempt God, but I am suggesting that we need more opportunities to trust God enough to “ride dirty” with Him. As the sons and daughters of God, we will face difficulty, we are promised that. However, we must be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to know when to remain secure and when we are to launch into the deep (Luke 5:4).
It takes courage to do what we’d rather not. Yet, how will we ever experience what we term, “the greater,” if we only live life with restraints? Even with seat belts, there will be turbulence. Once while flying, I was sitting next to a gentleman who noticed my discomfort with turbulence. He began to say, “Giddy Up! each time the plane hit a pocket of resistance.” I laughed, which is likely what he intended to do, in order to get my mind off of what was happening. What do we say when we are experiencing difficulty? When the term was used in “westerns” the horse understood to get moving. When we elect to hold fast to God and remain connected to Him, the ride may get rough, but we may rest assured that we will get to an expected end. We were never promised to experience a smooth ride. We were promised to never be left alone. By all means, fasten your seat belt in all methods of transportation. However, in this faith ride, we may occasionally find ourselves belt less, and that is okay. Let’s be certain to remember who to remain fastened to.