I pray when I fly
If I’m honest, I’m scared. It’s the one time I don’t have control…
And too many variables can go wrong. There are the extreme possibilities: terrorism, hijacking, explosive devices, and all manner of ideas that those who wish harm on innocents might concoct. But there are plenty of much more normal occurrences that can happen. Weather could be worse than predicted. Electronics can malfunction, mechanical failure can occur, human error, oversight, or judgement could cause an innumerable amount of issues, the inflight movie could be Indiana Jones 4.
I don’t have control. I don’t have the physical abilities to combat multiple armed enemies. I don’t have the technical skills to repair a damaged plane. I don’t have the engineering skills or the forensics abilities, or the foresight, or any of the myriad of needed experiences to assist when something may not go according to plan. Flying has proven to be very safe… until the news reminds us that there are exceptions to many rules in life.
So I do the only thing I can do. Yield to God. I pray. I ask for safety. I pray for those around me. I pray for the pilot, the mechanics, the flight attendants, the baggage handlers, the ticket takers. Each of them a potential hole in the security and safety of my flight… and each of them a possible hero of the day.
But prayer leads to reflection. Not knowing the entirety of each intricate detail of God’s will, I pray for myself as well. This plane will either land and I’ll continue my life (hopefully a better servant for God) or it will fall and I’ll see God momentarily (hopefully having pleased God with my life lived). A bit grim perhaps, but prayer leads us places. When we really open and pray honestly… it can lead us to many places.
I pray often during the flight. If I manage to get distracted from my quiet time with God, it doesn’t take long for some turbulence to hit, or to hear a creak, squeak or moan from the plane itself. Even the fasten seat belt sign coming on can jerk me back into prayer mode.
And all the while, I’m thinking the same thing you probably are. What a sissy! Look at everyone else enjoying the flight. Read a book, talk to someone, take a nap. This tiny fear has fully consumed me. And I go running right into my Daddy’s arms so he can make it all OK, just like a little child. Because God is our Father. He kisses the booboos, and protects us from the dark just as any Father would. And what parent doesn’t love it when the kids come to them, putting their faith in them, their trust?
This is the relationship God wants with us. To go to Him. To acknowledge He is in control. To have faith in Him. To trust in Him. To bring our fears to Him. To hide behind Him as both our authoritative father and our loving and protecting parent. But once our feet hit the ground we can’t seem to let go of the controls. Once we feel safe, as soon as we get into familiar territory, or after the fog clears, then we are ready to go at it all alone again.
Flying may get us from point A to point B, but prayer really takes us places. And when we have the strength to let go of the controls, we realize that the real fear isn’t in not having control. The real fear is what we will do with it. Running to God isn’t the weakness. Not letting go… that is the coward in us refusing to stand behind a bigger God. God wants us to pray when we are scared. Even more importantly, God wants us to pray when we aren’t afraid.
What if we offered up to God something we aren’t scared to do? Driving to work, eating lunch, mowing the lawn, time with friends and family. What if we handed EVERY moment over to God, and not just the ones we can’t do anything about anyway? What if God was not only our Father, but also our friend? And in that, we humbly share our lives with Him. But most importantly, allow Him to guide us, knowing He is in control when we let go. What if we asked Him into our lives and trusted Him in ALL things. I can answer that broadly. There would be NOTHING to fear.
I guess that is irony that what keeps us afraid is our inability to let go of our fears. But it takes a pretty deep relationship with God to understand how He works in our lives and how He responds to our faith in Him. He isn’t a genie that grants soccer wins, admonishes money, or flashes fancy clothes on us. He is a parent that loves His children and wants them to love Him back. No one feels love when the child returns with their hand out. My prayer on the plane… That was for me. The journey begins when prayer naturally exists in our lives just as we breath and sleep.