airplane - key west express

I trust you, O Lord. I said, “You are my God.” My future is in your hands. [Psalm 31:14-15a (GW)]

My son had his pilot’s license while in his teens and, to log solo flight time, he’d often fly from his school in another state to a small airport near our home. We’d meet for lunch before he returned to school. Sometimes, he’d take one of us for a short flight over the scenic countryside. The plane my son flew had dual controls and, like many pilots, he occasionally allowed his passenger to handle them. Of course, he remained the pilot in control and had to be certain his passenger would relinquish the yoke when asked to do so. Knowing aviation is not my forte, I never chose to try handling the controls. Actually, getting in the plane was a leap of faith for me since I didn’t even like to drive with my teen-ager but there I was in a plane with him at the controls. I reassured myself that there was less he could hit in the air while trying to forget that safely landing a plane was probably more difficult than parallel parking. As nervous as I was in the air, I had to trust that my son knew what he was doing and had no more desire to crash than did I!

God is my Co-Pilot is the title of a 1945 film based on the of the World War II exploits of Robert Lee Scott, Jr. That title became a Christianese catch-phrase and can still be seen on bumper stickers today. While a charming sentiment, it is theologically incorrect. If God is our co-pilot, we’re in the wrong plane! There are no dual controls in God’s plane and He doesn’t want us touching the yoke or messing with the rudder pedals. God is neither our assistant nor are we His; He is our captain. We don’t belong in the cockpit; we belong back in the cabin. He has a flight plan specifically designed for each of us and we have to trust that plan to Him.

While in an airplane, I recognize that I know nothing about aviation and have to leave the flying to those far more skilled than I. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult to admit that I’m no better at running my life than I am at piloting a plane. When I push into the cockpit of life and seize the controls from God, I tend to crash and burn. Instead of God being pilot or even co-pilot, He ends up being rescue squad, fire department, clean-up crew and salvage expert.

Heavenly Father, forgive me for the many times I try to wrest control of my life to go in another direction than the one you have planned for me. As Creator of the Universe, I concede that you are far more skilled at plotting the best route, keeping me on course, and handling all the turbulence, engine problems and fuel shortages that trouble my days. Secure in your love for me, I know that you want me to have a safe landing. You are the captain—the pilot of my plane; I am simply the crew awaiting your orders.

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. [Jeremiah 29:11 (GW)]

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