the one where i use an aviation metaphor

Physically, mentally and emotionally, it’s been rough.  It hasn’t been a crisis of faith, per se, but rather a crisis of HOW to have faith.

I believe in God, check.

I believe that His son Jesus is my Savior, check.

I have found, though, that I sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to look at our recent heartbreak and ongoing struggles to become parents and understand how to deal with it as a Christian.

When I am worked up about everything, I find myself tossed about by these storms and unable to find my bearings.

Which brings me to my aviation metaphor.  Ahem.

As a pilot, Frank has trained extensively.  When he first trained, he learned how to fly visually.  Flying visually is exactly what it sounds like – he would fly only in conditions (clear days, generally) that allowed him to identify landmarks and (most importantly) airports by sight. Flying on clear days is lovely, especially in small planes.

But as a committed pilot with aspirations to fly for airlines, Frank had to take his aviation training to the next level.  He had to learn to fly using only the instruments on the dashboard of the plane.  As part of his training, he actually wore a hood that didn’t allow him to see anything except the instruments in front of him.  He had to do this for two reasons: 1) because sometimes what you think you are seeing is not the whole picture and 2) because sometimes he has to fly in conditions where he won’t be able to visually see landmarks.

One night Frank took me flying.  It was a gorgeous night with a layer of low white clouds under a dome of shimmering stars.  Since there are controls on both sides of the plane, Frank let me take the “wheel” and instructed me to orient the plane so that it would be level with the horizon.  After a few minutes, Frank pointed at one of the instruments that showed how level the plane was relative to the earth.  Even though I thought I had the plane level with the horizon, I was very wrong.  The horizon I thought I was following was really a cloud, not the actual curve of the earth.

It is not enough, sometimes, to fly on sight alone.

Frank’s aviation training is a great metaphor for the grossly uncomfortable position that I am in right now.

Most of the time I can walk in my faith by “sight” alone; I either hear from God or I see landmarks from Him that point the way.  The answers are, for the most part, obvious.

Right now, though, we are stuck in the midst of storms and can’t see the ground or familiar landmarks.  Flying visually is not an option.  We have to rely on faith and the tools that God has given us.

I guess it’s a good idea to keep my seatbelt securely fastened, eh?

3 thoughts on “the one where i use an aviation metaphor

  1. this is amazing! and so true! it is a GREAT metaphor to use and help to sort things out. you hit the nail on the head!

    and remember, when FK learned to fly with the instruments only it was because he had grown, he had matured in his abilities, and was ready for a tougher challenge and expand his job and what he could do.

    maybe that is some of what God is doing in you right now. He knows you have matured, you have “mastered the basics” (as much as we can, ya know) and now he wants you to learn more. He wants your faith to be a level it hasn’t before. He has something out there, some “job” (to keep using the metaphor) that He is getting you ready for. but you can’t “fly under those conditions” until He teaches you this. and it’s hard work, and scary sometimes, but i don’t think you want to level yourself with a cloud, you want to be level with the actual horizon!

    ok, enough of me butchering your beautiful metaphor. all that to say you nailed it! i love you and am praying for you and am walking around “with that hood on” with you girl! whenever it gets tough just reach out for my hand! 🙂

  2. I like the analogy. I also am learning. Kinda scary to think he wants us to do more. I often wonder how He thinks I am up to the task. I feel so unworthy and incompetant. (I can’t even spell!)

    Thankfully I just have to remember that its not all about me. That I need only to rely on Him.

    What are your plans for next weekend? Give me a call when you get a chance. xoxo

  3. Hey Emily,

    I just have to say that I’m so proud of the faith and patience that is in you, and the way you allow God to mold and transform your life. I just keep thinking that if this is the way I feel… how much more does God love your child-like faith. It really is beautiful.

    I KNOW his blessings are coming to you… keep going.

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