Trust in the Lord: Keep Your Balance

Jim Allen

Kennedy was aware of the weather forecast before undertaking the 2-hour flight from New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard in July 1999. The forecast was good for visual flying conditions with visibility of six to eight miles. There was no warning in the forecast about the haze developing over his flight path. Kennedy's Piper Saratoga was on approach to Martha's Vineyard when it made a series of turns and then disappeared from radar. John, his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette died in the crash. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) said Kennedy had little flying time, and that such little time would have left Kennedy at an experience level when pilots often become overconfident and are insufficiently seasoned to recognize dangerous weather conditions. [1]

In flight school, I learned early about the perils of flying into unsafe weather conditions. Poor visibility is dangerous because pilots use earth's horizon as input to fly the plane level. To lose this crucial visual reference will cause a pilot to lose all sense of direction and balance, a condition called vertigo. To counter vertigo, modern aircraft now come equipped with a flight instrument called the Artificial Horizon. The flight instrument shows an artificial horizon of the earth and the plane's bank and roll relative to that horizon. NTSB believes young Kennedy knew he was in trouble but may not have been properly trained to use the instrument. When he flew into the haze, Kennedy lost all sense of direction resulting in a series of turns and his ensuing crash.

The Bible is our Artificial Horizon to help keep our balance when flying into bad weather en route to our final destination. Although some Christians appear to fly into more bad weather than others, all of us will from time-to-time. A man I know flew directly into a dark, violent thunderstorm in his life with little warning. One day he was a valued, highly-paid professional and then the next day, he was told his job had been eliminated. As a result, he would not only lose his prominent position in the company but the new house he had built on a 5-acre wooded lot overlooking a river valley. As the story goes, he knew he was in trouble and going down with little hope of recovery.

One day while standing outside his house, he looked up to the heavens and said, "Lord...though You may slay me, yet will I trust You (Job 13:15)." A peace came over his soul reminding him of the Bible verses he once studied early in life and had somehow drifted away from during his professional ascent up the corporate ladder. With new resolve and a realistic grip on his perilous descent, he placed his eyes of faith once again on the Artificial Horizon of God's word and averted the crash. Today he is flying high and level, ever mindful of the flight instrument of God's word.

The Bible tells us God is trustworthy and that His loving kindness for our life is more than adequate to keep us balanced and safely en route to our final destination (Proverbs 3:5-6). Though we cannot always see the good and bad weather ahead, the Lord does and is eager to guide us onward through it all because His love charts the way.

[1] Paraphrased from Don Phillips - Washington Post Staff Writer

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson; "Apollo Block I FDAI 8-Ball"; Creative Commons

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Published 9-5-12