A few weeks ago, we were sitting at lunch with a newly licensed pilot. He was sharing an experience that happened to him several days before. The valley we live in has been socked in with smoke from forest fires for about a month. Sometimes the smoke is heavy and the visibility is almost nil. He decided to take his plane up because the control tower told him he had six miles of visibility. It seemed like that would work for him since he wasn’t Instrument Rated. He and his wife flew around for a while and then decided to return to the airport. As they were coming into the valley, they couldn’t see the airport. It was socked-in with smoke from the forest fires. Because he wasn’t Instrument Rated, he could not get his bearings. He sent a distress call to the tower and waited for instructions. After what seemed like an eternity (which was probably only several seconds), he received the heading that brought him in line with the airport. Within a short time, he could see the airport and was able to land safely. After he landed, he decided to not go up again in those conditions until he was Instrument Rated.
On the way home from lunch, I thought to myself, “What a fitting metaphor for life.” Many times we get in situations where we cannot see our way ahead clearly. At that point, we must rely on information we have gathered to keep us moving forward in the right direction. What happens to us though, if we don’t have sufficient information to keep us on course (like the pilot who was not instrument rated)? We can crash and burn if we aren’t able to get our bearings.
So how do we get Instrument Rated for life? First, we must find a source of information that is timeless, eternal and true. For me, that source is the Bible. I know that no matter what happens to me, I can rely on God and His word to get me through it. The Bible describes what God is like in hundreds of verses and gives us His promises to help keep us grounded and get us to our destination safely.
For instance, His word tells us that God is love (1 John 4:16)) We can be assured that a loving God will be there to help us no matter what comes our way. It also tells us that He is a merciful God and that His mercies are new every morning. (Lam. 3:22-23) We can rest assured that He will give us mercy in the midst of our difficulties. It tells us that all things will work out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) We can trust Him no matter what happens, knowing that He is working our situation out for our benefit. And then there are the coordinates for zero visibility: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6. They will take you home every time.
Think about the last time you were in a difficult situation when you couldn’t see your way clearly through it…how did you react? What did you rely on to help you navigate in the midst of the problem? Were you Instrument Rated or did you crash and burn? There is a way to get Instrument Rated for Life. We can check out the Bible and see what bearings we can get from the Ultimate Control Tower. Better to do it sooner than later when we find ourselves flying blind in the midst of another difficult situation!
Image by LimatMD Anf. Courtesy of Pixabay