This thing called control… we all like to think we have it. It’s really honestly nothing but an illusion. There’s only one being in the universe that truly controls anything, and that is our Father in Heaven.
Still, we are people, and we are goofy enough to convince ourselves that we are controlling every aspect of our lives. About the only control we really have is personal self-control, and even that is fleeting; and is why the Grace of Jesus Christ is so very important. But I digress…
Are we in control? Yes? The dashboard on my bike says otherwise…
We are most certainly not in control, and I had to face that fact head on recently, when I traveled by airplane for the first time in eight years. Flying in an airplane, if you know me, is not my favorite thing. As a matter of fact, if my reference to planes as “a big metal tube with wings hurled into the sky” isn’t an indication of my distaste for flying, I don’t know what is. It’s more than a minor dislike, however. It is a full-on FEAR for me.
Not only are you crammed into the tube like sardines, you have all the misunderstood noises, movements, and unexpected environmental sensations that play into that fear. You’re not steering. You aren’t aware of the air disturbances ahead that will cause turbulence and a few bumps in the flight. On the road, we see the pothole, we hit the pothole, we feel the pothole. In the end, we were never afraid of it, however, because we knew it was coming, we had a hold of the wheel, we expected the bump, and we knew relatively how our car (or bike) would react. We were in “control.” Fear of the unknown or the misunderstood is irrational fear, and one of the most prevalent ways we let it manifest in our lives. Since we don’t know what it is, or will be, we allow our mind to fill in the blanks, and sometimes that filler is every terrible thing that we can comprehend happening, even if it is nearly totally out of the realm of possibility.
The fact is, though I’ve ridden safely for 20,000 miles over the past three years (thank you, Jesus!), I have a 1 in 114 chance of having a fatal motorcycle accident, versus a 1 in 9,821 chance of being in a fatal plane accident. Yet here I was, nervous as ever, to set foot on one of the safest modes of travel, while motorcycling is one clearly of the most dangerous.
I did not want to step on that plane. As a matter of fact, I even considered driving over 14 hours to avoid it, which is silly compared to a 1 hour, 44 minute flight. I prayed for bravery. I prayed for a safe flight. I prayed he’d keep me calm, and I stepped onto the plane. I knew anxiety of this nature in of itself is sin, as it displays a potential mistrust for God’s plan.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I found my seat; 19F (window seat). What I was greeted to was an older couple in seats D and E, who were nothing short of angels. They could see the apprehension on my face, and proceeded to chat with me the entire flight, in the most comforting, caring way. They were compassionate, soothing, and easy to talk to. We talked about being nervous on flights, family, and what we were doing at our destinations. They quite simply, along with a smooth flight with awesome pilots, made for a great re-entry into the world of air travel. But wait… there’s more!
On the ground and thankful for being so, I then went to get my rental car. I had a 90-minute drive ahead of me, and I was already exhausted. I got the car, got on the road, and I was starting to settle down from all of the stress and activity. I decided to turn on the radio, and what station is it left on, but a local Christian music station! Again coincidence? Maybe, but in this secular culture, I’m hard-pressed to think I’d step into a car with this left as the current radio station selection. I praised His name as I listened to music exalting the works of our Lord and Savior!
I was thankful and feeling very blessed. My Lord remembered me, comforted me, and sent me angels. He showed me that though I cannot control things, he can help shape the outcome of my experience while being totally out of control. Heavenly Father, thank you for freeing me, if only temporarily, from the grip of fear that so many of us experience. Amen.
Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.