>> Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life is full of turbulence. The problem is not the turbulence, but how we handle it.

As a child, I was programmed to be afraid of everything. My mother and I walked almost everywhere. The church we attended was on the other side of town. Someone from church would come by and give us a ride twice on Sunday and once in the middle of the week. Mother endured these terror filled trips to be able to get to church.

Many years went by before flying in an airplane was an option for me, but I was terrified at the thought. Days before the trip, I began to feel sick. As I packed, tears ran down my face. They continued to flow on the way to the airport and as we waited for the flight. The most terrifying moment of all was when we were at the end of the runway, ready to take off. I would force myself to take deep breaths.

But I would not let the fear make me stay home.

Then came the windy morning when my husband, John, and I had tickets for a plane trip. A ferocious wind gust awoke me … and there was no more sleep. We packed and drove to the airport … with the wind jerking the car around. I had no tears, but told John I felt funny. They announced a 30-minute delay … and then another 30-minute delay. The plane had some mechanical problem. Finally the announcement said we would need to re-book … that plane could not fly. The reason given … the flight to Pasco from Seattle had encountered so much turbulence that a passenger had hit the ceiling and broken a panel on the plane. They could not get it fixed, so we would have to take the next plane.

Then that plane was canceled … due to turbulence.

We were re-booked for a flight at 2:30. By now, I was not in good shape. The time came to board. I did not feel right, but we got settled in our seats. John always goes to sleep even before the plane takes off. He put his head back, closed his eyes … and then sat up and looked at me.

“Are you ok?”

I shook my head … unable to speak … fighting for my breath. I was in trouble. For the next 30 minutes a battle raged. The airplane was assaulted by turbulence on the outside, but I was having my own struggle. John kept squeezing my hand … and praying. I felt like I was in a battle for my life. The thought that repeated over and over in my head was, “I can’t let the devil win”.

Unbelievable turbulence … inside and out.

Over time I was able to take a deep breath. Slowly I took in more and more air. By the time I was breathing normally, we began our descent into Seattle … still being bounced around. But the tumult on the outside no longer mattered. I felt drained and exhausted, but very victorious. I had been hit by unexpected turbulence … and made it through.

What do you do with the turbulence in your life? Do you just let it throw you around … jerking you sideways and up and down … like that airplane? Or do you turn to the God who is in control of all turbulence, both inside and out?

“Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)



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