Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Memorable Plane Ride

I will never forget the first time I boarded a plane with my wife. She had only flown a few times in her life and had a fear of flying. She was a little nervous when she buckled in and focused on reading magazines. When it was time for take-off, she grasped my hand tightly. My knuckles started to turn white. Her breathing was like that of a woman in labor. The other passengers around us noticed her pain and assisted.

There was some turbulence in the air and the lady behind us also had a fear of flying. This lady kept yelling, "we're going to crash!" The flight attendant offered some kind words to my wife and to the hysterical woman behind us. There was such a look of relief when the plane landed. Twenty plus years later, my wife has overcome her fear of flying although she will never choose a window seat.

Becoming a Christian is similar to facing a fear of the unknown. Imagine yourself being dropped off at an airport. You have never been on a plane before and you don't even have a ticket. When you walk into the airport, there are people everywhere. They all look like they know what they are doing but you are lost. There are the big signs displaying departures and arrivals but that doesn't help you much.

A stranger senses that you are lost and offers help. You are pointed to a ticket counter and talk to someone behind the counter. Your name is not in their records so you repeat the process several times.

Finally, you find the right airlines and your name is discovered. The lady behind the counter tells you that your ticket has already been paid for. You are handed a boarding pass and told to go through the X-Ray machine. In order to board the plane, everyone must go through the process. Some are not able to fly because they fail the screening process or they do not have the ticket.

Once you board the plane, you find yourself surrounded by strangers. As a new Christian, you don't even know where the plane is going or how long you will be flying. The first ride is very bumpy and you are afraid. You reach out your hand to the stranger next to you as the plane enters an air pocket. She comforts you as you begin to breathe erratically.

Eventually the plane lands and you thank the stranger next to you for her help. After you become experienced, you begin to travel to international destinations. Gradually, your fear of flying disappears and you find yourself enjoying the window seat.

On your first international flight, a first-time flier sits next to you. You remember your first flight so you offer some conversation to put this person at ease. During the flight, you share passports. The newcomer is still trying to figure where the plane is going and how the travel process works.

You explain that you have been traveling for many years and you never really know where you are headed. You show your passport that is marked "hands". The stranger next to you has a label in his passport that is marked "feet". The stranger does not understand the meaning of this and you explain, "inside each passport is a label. Some are hands, some are feet, others are eyes and ears. As Christians, each person has a job. We are to be the hands, feet, etc. of Jesus until He returns."

I will never forget that first plane ride I took with my wife and I will never forget all the "hands and feet" I have met since I let Jesus be in charge of my life. Some of the flights have been scary but I know He is always in the plane with me. I see Him in the hands and feet that are all around me.

Are you ready to let God be your travel agent? Jesus has already paid the price for your ticket. He will let you fly with Him even though He can see everything you've done wrong or failed to do right each time you go through the X-Ray machine. His death on the Cross allowed the security gate to open. When you pass through security, only God knows where you will be traveling. The ride will be bumpy and you will receive many frequent flier miles that you can use for your final one way flight to paradise when it is time to retire your wings.

Afraid to fly? Don't worry, the person next to you will hold your hand and you will never be alone. Don't forget to look at your passport. Each stamp reveals what your job is and your passport is a one-of-a-kind. Your flight is about to depart...If you are afraid to fly, here are some comforting words to say while you are boarding...

The Lord's Prayer (23rd Psalm)

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

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