I’ve decided tonight that faith is like riding an airplane. The facts show that flying is much safer than me putting my hand to a wheel and driving across country, however, it doesn’t always feel safer. There is a moment just before take off when the wheels grind and clack and I wonder if this might be the night that the plane doesn’t make it into the air, the night the mechanics or the pilot make a mistake. I feel that I would be safer if I were in control, even if that control were an illusion. But despite the noises and my doubts, the plane makes it. We become airborne.
Sometimes faith doesn’t feel safe. It hasn’t felt safe this past year as several of those dearest to me have been forced to fight against cancer, are still fighting now. It doesn’t feel safe to stare into a future with so many spaces left purposefully blank to leave room for God to work in the unknown. It doesn’t feel safe to watch those close to me stumble or cry out in pain in their journey towards God and know that my task is not to fix but to pray.
These things don’t feel safe, but somehow they are. I know they are safe because this weekend I looked into the eyes of a man who told me that God was reshaping his sense of well being and anchoring it firmly around God in the midst of the questions that cancer brings. I know because the only way I stay determined to face the future is through my dependency on the idea that life’s ultimate meaning is something bigger than what I can see. I know because I can’t control the lives of those I love, because the only one who is strong enough is God.
Right now I’m thousands of feet above the ground. When I try to analyze this fact it can be frightening—nothing but air separating me from a deathly fall to the earth. This is the moment when I need to trust, trust in those who know more than I do—the engineers who fashioned this plane, the mechanics who cleared it for take-off, the pilots who are driving it into the night sky, and God, the one who is blowing winds underneath the wings and holding the laws of physics together. My willingness to rely on faith is what will bring me home.