I could just picture Pastor Dave sitting on the plane, bouncing along in the turbulence, trying to keep his Bible and work papers on his lap as he sat strapped in his seat.
Dave, a featured speaker at our Toastmaster’s meeting was describing a recent flight to the East Coast from his home in California.
As his story unfolded we found that he had been sitting next to an elderly lady, apparently on her first flight. He had engaged in polite conversation with her but after reaching altitude and heading out over the Rockies he opened his Bible and began to work on this sermon for the next Sunday.
We were captivated as Dave described how, after a short while, the plane began to rock in the turbulence, the vibration becoming stronger each minute. Even though they were at cruising altitude the plane encountered very rough turbulence and began to shake violently. The lady grabbed Dave’s arm, held on tightly and seeing his Bible and paperwork said, Young man are you a minister. Dave smiled and said, “Why, yes, I am”. She said, “Well can’t you do something about this turbulence?” Dave responded patiently, “No Mam, you see I am in Sales, not Operations.” Brief pause and everyone in the place collapsed with laughter. That Dave, quite a guy.
He had held us all in suspense as the story built and the effect was lasting. Haven’t we all, like the little lady, had those “white knuckle” experiences? Haven’t we yearned for the “Operations” department instead of the “Sales” department when we are in trouble?
Oh, the Sales Force is all over the place. “Here’s a pill that will fix you.” “With painless surgery we can fix your back, front, head, toe, grow hair, eyelashes!!” “This new plan can get you out of foreclosure.” “Your baldness will disappear in two weeks.” “Our new Dating site will help you find a spouse.” I even once knew an automobile salesman that had a bright red tie with the words “TRUST ME” emblazoned on the front!! But really, Whom do we trust?
Over the years I have flown a lot, sometimes several flights a week, and experienced those moments of concern, and frankly have come to rely on Operations more than Sales, the operation of God’s unfailing laws of good!!!
As I would leave the office on rainy, dreary days sometimes my colleagues would bemoan the weather and feel sorry for me because of the poor flying weather. “White Knuckle Day” they would say. "Gee Pat, lousy day for flying. I bet you hate it." Whether raining or snowing, with dreary, low clouds, dark skies and even worse weather threatening... I DIDN'T dislike it!!
I loved the anticipation, the EXPECTATION of freedom, coming out "On Top". I well remember the feeling I often had as the pilot released the brakes, engines spooled up and we took off, speeding down the runway in the rain or snow, climbing up into the dark and threatening clouds lowering over the airport. I would be glued to the window, watching intently. Then, all at once... BRILLIANT SUNSHINE as we broke out On Top!! WOW. You know, it had been there all the time, beautiful blue sky all around, sunlight shimmering off of the tops of the clouds we had just climbed through, while below things had looked bleak, dark and threatening. The expectation had paid off.
I think the experience was a constant reminder that we willalways come out “On Top” if we maintain that Expectation of Good, the Trust that our lives are governed by God, good. Not a Pollyanna, sense of goody-goody naivete , but a growing understanding that in reality, life is spiritual and that good only is going on.
In life, we are often faced with turbulence, in our home and workplace, dark clouds of worry, a rainy financial outlook perhaps, fear for our health or that of a loved one, and the feeling of being helpless or far from a solution. We may be entangled in the fog of thinking that we are just mortal beings with a limited life span, fearing that there are “no guarantees”, facing a myriad of uncertainties, limping along in a fragile temporary existence. But when we begin to understand that, in fact, we are pure, spiritual ideas of God, reflecting His presence, right here and now, we can establish that trust that is promised in the Bible, in Proverbs where we are encouraged to: ¶ ”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. “ Proverbs 3:5-6.
Now, is this counsel to TRUST or EXPECT good just a few verses from an old book, or is it a living promise, a fact that was demonstrated thousands of years ago and countless times since then?
The problems of Centuries ago were pretty much like they are today, some really “trying” days reaching from Abraham’s time through the period when Jesus and his disciples lived, and up until today. There were health problems, family squabbles, poverty, government oppression or failure, hunger, the ravages of sinful living, worries and responsibilities, all the dark and gloomy suggestions that the human situation can throw at us.
BUT… Jesus’ own understanding that life is spiritual, that we are not just clay objects with a limited mind, but actually reflections of the Mind that is God, enabled him to bring healing and relief to those who came to him for help.
Filled with expectation, folks that were deep in the dark clouds of dismay, fear and hopelessness came to him, looking to climb out of the turbulent atmosphere to find healing. Lepers came, and invalids, blind and deaf seekers, women with lifelong illness, even the desperate parents of dying children. They came with Expectation, eagerly looking out of the window of thought, longing to break through On Top, to see the sunlight, the beautiful blue sky of healing and happiness. And they DID!! And we can too, as we look to the lessons that Jesus taught and lived.
The Bible accounts of his presence, his deeply spiritual thinking, his understanding that we are spiritual beings, which prompted his Sermon on the Mount as contained in the book of Matthew, and such quotations as: “The Kingdom of God is within you”,* his urging to: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”**, and his encouragement for us to follow him in life practice: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”***
It make take a little Bible reading and quiet thought, but the answers to our problems are there for us, and they have been time tested and proven.
Current scientific research such as contained in the new book, “Biocentrism”**** by Robert Lanza, one of the most respected scientists in the world, is breaking old thought patterns based on a universe consisting of matter, and showing that spiritual life as defined by Jesus 2000 years ago is now becoming clearer to us in this day and age.
If our flight today gets bumpy, let’s look out the window and Expect to come out On Top! Take your seat next to the window and strap yourself in. It’s gonna be a great flight!!
** Matthew 5:48
*** John 14:12
**** Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe - Dr. John Lanza (Robert Lanza, a world-renowned scientist who has spanned many fields from drug delivery to stem cells to preventing animal extinction, and clearly one of the most brilliant minds of our times, has done it again. `A New Theory of the Universe' takes into account all the knowledge we have gained over the last few centuries ... placing in perspective our biologic limitations that have impeded our understanding of greater truths surrounding our existence and the universe around us. This new theory is certain to revolutionize our concepts of the laws of nature for centuries to come." Biocentrism will shatter the reader’s ideas of life—time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.