I remember my first flight. I was 21 years old, travelling to Kalamazoo, MI. All of my senses were screaming DANGER! I was scared of every sound, sight and smell. The whole process was new. I don’t even think I’d ever been inside an airport before. On the plane, I paid close attention to every instruction. I made sure my seatbelt was securely fastened. I reviewed the safety card several times before the plane took off to be sure I was familiar with what I should do in case of an emergency. I looked for the exit signs and my nearest exit point. I was ready. I prayed so hard on that flight, and I wasn’t even a Christian at the time! I made it through the first leg of the trip without the use of “the bag”.
Well, the second half of the trip was a different story. It was a short hop from Detroit to Kalamazoo, so guess what I got to fly in? You guessed it! This little prop plane was so small! I think they gave everyone a “bag” as we entered the plane! It was a terrible experience, and all I could think of once we landed was, “I have to do this again to go home!”
My second flight was wonderful! I flew in a big jumbo jet to Jamaica! It was a smooth ride, “no worries mon!”
Boredom and Avoidance
I guess you could say I’m a seasoned flier now, not because I enjoy it so much as I’ve flown lots of places now. My fear and anxiety is now replaced with boredom and avoidance. I think I know it all. I don’t need to listen so attentively to the in-flight safety instructions because I can probably chime in with the flight attendant and recite them myself. I say to myself, “How much time will I really have to use the oxygen mask and flotation device”? “What good will it really do? If something happens to the airplane, I’ll probably die anyway.”
So now, rather than listen intently to this vital information, I avoid the lecture. I talk to the kids, go to the washroom, gather my reading material, flip through the magazines, and so on. This part of the trip is boring compared to what’s to come! What I’m really excited about is accompanying my husband on a trip, or visiting family, or going on vacation. That’s what I’m looking forward to–getting there, wherever “there” is.
I still don’t like flying. I’m still nervous sitting in my seat waiting for the plane to take off. Often, I’ll pray and read the Psalms to calm my heart and mind, and to remember that God is sovereign over all things. I remember that my life is just a vapor, and the Lord can take it at any time, plane or no plane. I remember that real life begins when this physical one ends. To see the Savior face to face and worship Him unhindered by sin…O the bliss of that glorious thought!
The fear still rises up on almost every flight, but oddly enough, I continually find myself disengaged with the vitally important, life-saving safety information. Complacency and inattentiveness sets in. You’d think with my fears, I’d pay more attention!
This dynamic is not just limited to flying. How many times have I avoided the “vitally important, life-saving” Word of Life, finding portions of God’s Word boring, being inattentive to the voice of God? How often have I approached the Word with too much familiarity (call it pride), thinking “I’ve read this so many times, I don’t need to read it or study it again”?
Lord, help me to approach your Word with a fresh awareness of my need. Help me to realize that salvation is by your Word, that you protect and rebuke and encourage by your Word, that you speak to me through your Word–every time I open it!
You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.