I spend a lot of time locked inside a cylindrical container that hurtles through the air for hours.
Flights are an inescapable, and for a claustrophobe like me, uncomfortable part of my life. The idea of being a flight attendant who had to do this for a living, day after day, would be my version of hell. Long flights are the worst. The worst!
On a gorgeous Sunday morning on August 4, 2019, I was on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Barbados to Jamaica. We had been flying for about 4 hours and 25 minutes when the pilot made this announcement:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to begin our descent to Jamaica.”
Finally! I thought. Leaning forward in my aisle seat, I peeked out the window. The weather was beautiful: clear sky with very few clouds. No rain or dark clouds in sight. Closing my eyes, I breathed a sigh of relief that the flight, which had been smooth so far, looked as if it would remain that way.
I wasn’t expecting his next words:
“We’re going to be in for some strong turbulence shortly, due to heavy winds in a weather system near the ground. I’ll try to make the landing as easy as possible.”
I tensed up in my seat, my fingers gripping the armrest. Fear climbed up my arms.
The pilot added:
“Finally, I’d like to welcome my brother and his family who are onboard. It’s a pleasure to have you flying with us today.”
I felt peace returning. His family was onboard. I knew this meant he would do everything in his power to keep them safe.
About 20 minutes later, to my great joy and absolute relief, we made it safely to the ground. During landing, there had indeed been bumps, dips, and sudden drops that make my stomach lurch and passengers gasp, but I kept thinking: It’s okay. He warned us this was coming. Everything’s fine, his family is with us.
Afterwards, I reflected on what this experience means for us as believers and extracted two kernels I’d like to highlight in this short article.
Turbulence is expected and you can’t get off the plane
Life may be calm right now but sometimes you’ll find yourself in places that are not of your choosing. Circumstances that are difficult can situate you in a place of discomfort. You may feel like you’re trapped and can’t get out. You can feel like the walls are closing in and you can’t get enough oxygen to breathe.
At those times, we can take heart that Jesus told us what was coming. He was very clear when he said to his disciples in John chapter 16, verse 33: “In this world you will have trouble.”
His language is unambiguous. There’s no mistaking its meaning. Trouble lies ahead. You will undergo turbulence in your life. Things will come to test you, shake you and ultimately strengthen your faith.
But we have Jesus’ assurance in that same verse: “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”
This declaration means that when the inevitable rough times come along, relax! Don’t be surprised. You were warned it was coming and the pilot (Jesus) knows what He’s doing. He can handle it! He created the weather systems. Bad weather doesn’t intimidate him. Trust Him.
The result of this trust is “peace” (verse 33). This is not peace that everything will go as you want it to. But peace that in Jesus, you are secure.
There’s a special passenger on your flight
In turbulent times you may feel alone, lost and confused. In John chapter 16, verse 32, Jesus said his disciples would be scattered. He said they’d leave him alone, “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
People protect those who matter to them: their loved ones. As a believer, you are a part of the family of God. The proof of His love is the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, to restore a relationship with Him. Jesus is with you.
There are millions of flights per year (an estimated 39.4 million by global airlines in 2019) and an infinitesimally small fraction of those flights crash. Jesus’ safety track record is way better. In fact, it’s perfect. He has never lost a soul entrusted to him. Think of it like this: we are engraved in the palm of God’s Hands (Isaiah chapter 49, verse 16).
Jesus said in John chapter 10, verse 28:
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Now that’s one pilot I’d entrust my entire life to!
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. This year, she is committed to believing for bigger things. She was the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers winner in the young writer program as well as the 2019 Tronson Award (International). The young writer program is coordinated by Press Service International (PSI) in conjunction with Christian Today with over 80 young writers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
Sharma Taylor previous articles may be viewed at: www.pressserviceinternational.org/sharma-taylor.html