I am terrified of flying.
I know it is illogical. I know that more people crash in automobiles than in airplanes, and yet I drive my car daily in complete peace. At one point in my life, I used to travel by airplane every 4 months. The airplanes in which I traveled never crashed. Yet, every time I fly, the anxiety within me has gotten worse.
I hate it.
However, there is one thing for which I am particularly grateful with regard to my fear of flying, and that is that it reminds me in a very tangible way of my need for a Savior.
It is easy to walk through life with the illusion that we are independent and self-sufficient. I feel perfectly confident in breathing in and out every second, rising in the morning, driving to work, doing my job, driving back home, preparing dinner, reading a little or talking with a friend, and starting that cycle all over again the next day. It is easy to forget that my every breath is sheer grace from my Creator who gave me breath and sustains it moment by moment. It is easy to forget that my life is a vapor and could be over in a flash. It is easy to forget that it is God’s empowering grace that enables me to get up in the morning, drive to work unharmed, do my job, interact with others, and study. When I am in an airplane, I feel like I will simply not be able to endure sitting there while my heart pounds, my mind spins, and my palms sweat. I find myself constantly praying, “God, I need you. Please help me.” Yet this same prayer is true and needed while my feet are safely on the ground.
My need for Jesus includes my need for His Body. I need brothers and sisters in Christ who will point me to Christ, who will pray for me, who will encourage me, and to whom I can confess and from whom I can receive counsel and help. Because Christ has set me free and because He is all, I can humbly walk in the light... I can be honest about my frailty, weakness, struggles, and sin. I can receive help, and He can receive glory. I was so blessed to have dear friends pray for me, encourage me, and help me before and during my flight. (My sweet family even wrote me the nicest cards to read on the plane.)
Another way that flying reminds me of my need for a Savior is because I know that my obvious fear reflects a sinful lack of trust in God. My head knows that God is good. My head knows that God will equip me for whatever situation He brings into my life. My head knows that any discomfort and even death is worth it so long as I can be with my Savior. I know this because God has proven His character to me over and over again. And yet in the air, my emotions betray my knowledge. My lack of faith is so blatantly obvious while I am flying, and for some reason it is less obvious to me while I am on the ground. In the air, my lack of faith and my frailty is exposed. I am betraying my Savior and friend by not trusting Him--the One who has demonstrated His steadfast love and trustworthiness to me over and over again like no other in my life has. My reaction to flying reminds me of the obvious truth that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I simply do not live by the faith that I ought.
Flying reminds me that I never stop needing Jesus. Becoming a Christian does not change the fact that I need Him for every moment of every day. I cannot do anything, good or bad, apart from His Sovereign permission. I cannot do anything good without His empowering grace. I cannot stand in His Pure and Righteous presence given my past, present, and future sins, apart from the work of the cross—where Jesus paid for each of those sins and washed me clean, so that I can enjoy fellowship with our Pristine God. And until the day when Christ’s sanctifying work in me is complete, I need His constant healing, forgiveness, and help. And when His sanctifying work in me is complete, I will need Him then too because He will be my sun, the source of my delight. I love how this song reflects our reality until that day:
“The River”I am so grateful that my God remembers that I am dust. I am so grateful that He is the most loving Father I can imagine, and He shows compassion and affection to me daily. I am so grateful that He wants me to come to Him with all my cares and needs. And He does meet me!
By Brian Doerksen
To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord I need to meet you there
In these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord I need to meet you there
Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord I need to meet you there
Come and join us, in the river
Come find life beyond compare
He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet you there.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!