A few days before Christmas we flew up to Portland, Oregon to spend Christmas with our kids in Washington. As we approached the airport for landing, our plane descended into winds that were MUCH STRONGER than our plane was designed to handle. The plane rose and fell...it jerked to the left with a force so strong we gripped what we could….we jerked to the right and dipped…we “roller-coasted”...and on and on it went….causing me to realize just how fragile and vulnerable being on an airplane could be! We were at the mercy of this wind and our plane was struggling in its grasp! I wondered if we were going to crash. Would this be my last day?
The pilot put all his skills into keeping us level. I prayed God would send His angels to keep the wings level and hold up the plane as we fought against these winds. After what seemed an eternity battling against winds that were stronger than us, the pilot gunned the engines and slowly…forcefully… pushed us through as we headed up to calmer skies. We felt the plane strain and jerk to gain the necessary altitude to rise above the swirling treacherous winds.
Soon we felt the plane calm and settle in a normal fight pattern. As it did, we began to calm and settle, too. The voice of the captain came on the intercom to announce we were being diverted to Seattle, a twenty-five minute flight away.
As our plane touched down on the runway, the passengers erupted in loud clapping, appreciative and thankful to be on solid ground again. I, too, was so relieved to feel the ground under the plane as we taxied the runway. In fact, I enjoyed the length of time it took for the plane to slowly taxi down a very long runway before it made its stop! It confirmed in my mind over and over again we had indeed made it safely out of those turbulent skies and were once again on solid ground!
Now, we were to wait to see how we would continue our journey to get to Portland. Soon we were told we could choose to either get off the plane if we desired and find our own way back or we could remain on the plane and fly back when it was deemed safe to do so. Many people chose to leave the plane. A long line of passengers began to fill the aisles with their carry-on bags in hand. They had had enough! I felt we were facing a life/death decision. We had just made it out of a very frightening situation! It felt that living or potentially dying could be the result of what we chose to do. I was so glad to be on the ground that I did not want to be back up in the air again that soon, if ever. Would we be foolish to stay on that plane and try again? As we watched the people walking in the aisles toward the door, the pull to get off the plane with them was strong.
We made the decision to remain on the plane [actually my husband did that for us] and trust the pilot not to leave Seattle until it was indeed safe to do so. I won’t say it was the smoothest flight or that there weren’t any sudden shifts of the plane as we headed to Portland for the second time. I won’t say my nerves were calm as my nerves were actually “on end”. You know how you feel when you experience an earthquake? The first jolt comes and you wonder if that will be all or if the earthquake is only just beginning with more violent shaking to come. That was how I felt on the flight back. The flight felt long, but was actually short, only twenty -five minutes. The flight was nerve-wracking, but was actually normal. We landed safely, with a smooth landing, three hours after we should have landed the first time.
Our lives are filled with choices and decisions that shape the direction our lives will take. What we believe, who we believe, what we trust in. and who we trust in will determine whom we will follow and the decisions we will make. We are even making a decision when we choose not to make a decision. As a Christian, I look back at the moment I made the decision to believe what the Bible said was truth.
The Bible tells us God sent His Son to show us the way back to Him. Our sin separated us from God with no way of our own to make our way back. Jesus became the perfect sacrifice—the payment required—that our sin could be forgiven. Jesus died so that we would not have to! As I stood years ago hearing about God’s amazing plan for the first time…His amazing love for a sinner like me, the decision to believe—to accept this gift of salvation and forgiveness was before me. To put my faith in it…to grab hold of it and make it mine or to walk away and reject it was the choice before me. God opened my eyes to my great need for Him and I exuberantly embraced Christ Jesus as my Savior.
Through the years I have found Jesus is indeed THE way to follow! He is THE truth I sought then and still seek today! He is THE life I desire to live. I find my joy and my rest for my soul in Him. And the best part is that it is not dependent on any circumstance I find myself in! He has been with me through many good times and also through the most difficult of times!
Choosing to put our faith in Jesus is the true life/death choice we make while living. It is really the only one that matters. It is the only one that matters because our soul lives on when we no longer are alive on this earth. What choice we make here determines where we spend eternity. Every choice or decision we make in life ultimately fades away to unimportance except for this one: Did we choose to believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Is our trust in Him alone? Even if I had lost my life on that plane, I know Jesus, my Savior, would have welcomed me home with Him. My earthly life would have ended, but my eternal one would have just begun! My life is eternally secure in Him. He, alone, knows the length of my days here on earth! I need not fear! He knows my last given day. It will take me by surprise, but it will not take Him by surprise! I know He will be with me on that day!
A new year has begun…a new year is always a clean slate…new and fresh, untarnished. How will you live it? Will you draw closer to God? Will you put your trust in Him if you haven’t already? Will you secure your future to live eternally with Jesus in heaven? It is the best life/death decision you will ever make if the answer is “Yes”!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Peter 1:3-5
“…and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16b
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1
by Pat Tingwall