I still remember the very first time I flew in an airplane. It was from Charleston, WV to Washington, DC. In that short flight we experienced a good bit of turbulence. It felt like the plane was falling out of the sky and I felt a little queasy. But the guy ahead of me went into panic mode. I’ll never forget the elderly woman sitting close by, tenderly placing her hand on his and saying, “First time flying, young man?”
Fast forward forty nine years later and multitudes of flights behind me, I am much more poised when turbulence comes. Many years on a transcontinental flight, the pilot came over the loudspeaker and told us with pinpoint accuracy when to expect the turbulence. He cautioned us before we even left the ground that we should expect a “rough patch” about an hour and a half into the flight. And guess what? It happened just as he predicted—exactly when he said it would happen. Unlike my very first experience with turbulence earlier, I was ready for this one. Seat belt buckled, relatively composed, and prayed up.
What made the difference in my composure? I trusted that the aircraft was made for that kind of turbulence, that technological instruments equipped the pilot to be prepared for these situations with tremendous precision, and that he was skilled and adept to get us through the rough spots.
Have you hit any turbulence in your world lately? How are you handling this bumpy ride called life? Are you composed? Spiritually poised? It’s inevitable that trials will come, but how we handle difficulty and adversity speaks volumes about what we truly believe about God.
Just like I came to trust that an airplane is built for turbulence, we as followers of Jesus Christ need to grow into a faith that trusts God’s design for our lives, and more importantly His sovereignty over all of life. He has built us for adversity.
Jesus told his disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) In other words, you were built for endurance. You are hardwired to overcome hardship. And the other part of that promise is that we can have peace in the storm. Yet nowhere in scripture is this peace promised to those outside of a relationship with Christ.
The Psalmist said, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:19 NIV) To the believers in Philippi, Paul wrote a letter from a prison cell. Talk about a difficult ride! While jailed up in a hole for being faithful to Jesus, he said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
Whenever I find myself in the turbulence of life, I try to remind myself of two things: No matter how hard or difficult this situation is, I was made for this. I wasn’t built for smooth seas; I was built for the fierce stuff of life—violent waves, tumultuous winds, and all the chaos that comes with it. I’m not some cheaply thrown together vessel, lacking structural integrity, which will fall apart at the first storm encountered. God made me for the hard weather. And, the second thing I remind myself is that no matter how helpless the circumstances may appear, He’s got this!
Over and over again throughout the course of my life, God has proven Himself faithful. He’s sustained me through all the ups and downs, all the fiery trials, and all the battering adversity. He is faithful.
You’re not some cheaply thrown together vessel, lacking structural integrity, which will fall apart at the first storm encountered. God made you for the hard weather. And He’s got this!