“We are sorry to inform you, but we will be unable to land in Minsk. We will be flying back to Frankfurt.”
Three times, the pilot attempted to navigate through thick clouds and heavy fog, but the weather conditions won. The final destination of my 8000 mile, three airplane, two-day trip – the city of Minsk – was just below me. But I couldn’t see the city, and I wouldn’t arrive as planned.
One month later, another pilot, seemingly effortlessly, descended through the clouds and landed a different plane in Little Rock. As I recalled the earlier flight, I was struck by the differences in the two journeys, as well as the similarities. I also saw how they mirrored my faith walk.
As I soared above them with the sun so dazzling it almost blinded me, I felt as if I could forever float in that serene sky. The puffs of white cloud looked as innocent as cotton balls and as impotent as a bowl of whipped cream.
Below, they appeared elegant and deceptively harmless. But inside the clouds, I saw nothing but a haze. Sometimes when the clouds were thick with fog or pollution, they were blustery, ominous, and threatening. They became an obstacle to the destination.
In order to reach land, planes must enter the opaque envelope of clouds and overcome the obstacles.
I prefer to glide above the physical and spiritual clouds or admire them from below. Trials, wounds, refinement, questions—these all create turbulence that I would rather avoid on my way to Christ-likeness.
But God often requires, and circumstances often demand, that I enter the clouds.
One factor that contributed to the unfavorable skies in Minsk was the substantial pollution. Little Rock was the opposite, with little pollution to taint the skies.
Often, I am more like Minsk. I allow impurities to contaminate my spirit: selfishness, pride, fear. These contribute to my confusion and suffering.
The Minsk airport does not use instrumentation to guide the pilot through the murk, so he uses Visual Flight Rules to wing his way through the indistinct blur.
In contrast, the Little Rock airport utilizes modern equipment. Pilots use Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) to guide planes through the haze.
Spiritually speaking, I compare myself to the Minsk pilot who did not land because he could not see. Like him, I know what my final destination is, but I don’t always know which way to go.
I foolishly rely on my own Visual Flight Rules to guide me instead of God’s Instrument Flight Rules. Without faith, I can’t navigate my way through the present adversity to reach my goal of Christlikeness.
I avoid the buffeting for awhile, and like the first pilot, I give up. But I will eventually face the obstacles that block my way.
And when I face them God’s way, I fly through the clouds.
What are the obstacles that block your way?
2013 Deborah Simon, Executive Director
GateWay of Hope Ministries – The Helping Place for Hurting Women