I swear I could get lost in my own hallway, and I know I’ve been lost in my life’s journey plenty of times. Watching out the airplane window as we climb through 20,000 feet of cloud cover this morning, I am grateful that my pilot doesn’t rely on his personal sense of direction. Sure, it’s probably better than mine, but humans don’t have the inner magnets that guide homing pigeons, and no sense of direction could get us through this much white. There are no landmarks, no lines and no lights to keep us on track, and the wind currents could easily push us one way or another. My pilot today relies on systems, navigational tools and years of training where he learned how to read the signals.
God speaks to us through the Bible, prayer, and other Listeners. We learn to read God’s signals through trial and error as we develop a relationship with Him that says, “Lord, I want to get to know YOU—who You are, how You tick, why You do things I wouldn’t think of. I want to explore how You have made me, what gifts You’ve put inside me and how You want to use them so my life is fulfilling and helpful. I will let You guide me, because You know me better than I know myself, You see the whole road and not just my current spot, and You know where we’re going.”
The silver line appears at the top of my window; the plane rises into the clear blue; and even though I’m breathing airplane air, it feels like my brain gets a new wave of oxygen once the clouds are at my feet. On many flights, I can look right through what was opaque during the climb and pick out lakes and streets in the landscape below. Today, the clouds are thick, revealing none of what I’ve just left behind, none of what I’m passing over.
Do you mourn for what could have been? Do you wonder what’s happening in the place where you aren’t? Perhaps you’ve left behind a poisonous relationship or stagnant place, but your mind keeps circling around that person or situation. That’s natural for your brain. You are designed with instincts that set a “normal,” based on your current situation. Those instincts lock in repeated patterns, dwelling spaces, and core groups of people in order to free up brain space so you can move and work without having to constantly check the map as you go through your days. So for awhile, as you move forward into a new life, new habits, or a new crowd, your circuits may feel a little glitchy. They’re seeking the norm they know. That feeling will pass, if we are diligent to redirect our thoughts to our current voyage. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV says to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. Change feels weird, and sometimes our emotions carry us away, but don’t spend your time dwelling on what’s under the clouds or behind the plane. Philippians 4:7 NIV says if we ask, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Maybe you’re in the air, and it wasn’t your choice. The situation on the ground was wonderful, and you feel like a tornado has snatched you up and smashed your life. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I know how that can feel, and it’s hard. Know that, even though you see nothing but white, you are being held tenderly in something much stronger than a plane. You are held in the hand of God, and God is not a nameless wind that gusts recklessly. God is personal, He is with you, He loves you, and He’s excited about where you are going, because it will be worth this tumultuous time. Even if you never see what is below the clouds you are flying over, God’s hand will carry you through, and He won’t drop you. Trust. Continue to relate to Him, read your navigational tools and ask for understanding. It’s okay to question what you see and ask for what you would like. Bury your face in the airplane pillow when it gets to be too much, but don’t jump out. You are safe in His hand.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.