20 Minutes of Turbulence
A few years ago I was on a plane traveling from London to Dallas. Thankfully the flight had been uneventful without even a trace of turbulence. Before we knew it, the captain came over the speaker and informed us we would be on the ground in twenty five minutes. Even though it was an easy flight, we were ready to get off the plane and be home.
Five minutes hadn’t passed when all of a sudden the flight began to get really bumpy and without notice it took a considerable drop. I don’t know how much it actually dropped, but it was enough to make us lose our stomachs. We looked at each other and began to laugh, while holding the armrest a little bit tighter.
A minute later, it dropped again. I mean it was crazy! I was getting a little nervous and that wasn’t even the end of it. Just moments later, our calm, pleasant flight experienced yet another drop—this one the most severe. The drink my daughter was holding flew up in the air and went over the seat and landed on me. I have to tell you, I definitely wasn’t laughing anymore.
I looked up after the third incident to see what the flight attendants were doing. My reasoning; if they’re calm and walking around, everything must be fine. Ok, not happening! The flight attendants hurriedly found an available seat and buckled up quickly. This didn’t help what I was feeling inside of me.
In fact, at that point, my prayer life took on a whole new level.
“God, if you’re really there…God I have kids at home that need me…I’m too young to die.” I was quoting scriptures; asking for forgiveness, singing hymns in my head…I think I even got re-saved! Hey—don’t judge me…I was desperate and giving it my all.
Well, obviously we made it back. The third “plunge” in the air marked the end of the excitement on the flight from Hades; I mean London. I’m sure those last minute prayers of mine really “pulled us through!” I was never so glad to see the ground in all of my life.
Not long after my “near death experience,” I was thinking about everything that happened. All of sudden it hit me...sure I had 20 minutes of terrifying turbulence, but the reality was I still had 8 hours and 40 minutes of absolute peace and calm.
Did you get that…8 hours and 40 minutes of TOTAL PEACE...not one single ounce of worry. And yet, my whole conversation the days and weeks following centered around the 20 minutes of turbulence.
I hope my story helps you see how easy it is to lose sight of everything that's going RIGHT in our lives and focus on everything that's going wrong. If we’re not careful, we can totally overlook how far God has brought us and how faithful He has already been to us. Our present “drop” in life causes us to dwell on the difficulty. Watch what can happen:
We become distracted by "life" and those distractions become our focus.
What we focus on becomes magnified in our mind.
What we think about gets down into our heart.
What's in our heart comes out of our mouth.
What comes out of our mouth shapes our environment.
The reality is, no matter how bad things are, WE can always make them worse. It's in these moments, we have to shift our focus. I don't mean deny what's going on, but instead remember God is always just a prayer away. He's gotten you through before and we have to assure ourselves that He will see us through again.
I like practical advice, so let me try to offer some to you...
- When all hades is breaking lose, remember God is not on vacation and He's not on the other side of heaven ignoring you. The Bible says, He listens the split second you call out to Him.
- If you're believing God for a miracle in your marriage and family, stop focusing on everything that is wrong and find the one thing that is right. (I know you can find at least ONE thing!)
- Count your blessings instead of your burdens.
- Find the good in the midst of the bad.
- Instead of dwelling on how far you have to go, FOCUS on how far you've come!
- Search for the CALM in the midst of the chaos.
- And by all means, don't forget to thank God for the tiny miracles and victories along the way!
You may be thinking, “I can’t think of ANYTHING good that’s going on in my life right now.” Well, do me a favor…see if you have a pulse… There you go…there’s something to be thankful for.
You got a pulse? God has a plan.
Instead of allowing your present “turbulence” to overtake you, allow God’s presence and faithfulness to calm and overshadow you. Remember this; your challenges in life don’t take God off guard. He can turn any situation around and He’s known for doing the impossible. Rest assured--He is most definitely an ever present help in time of trouble…even at 32,000 feet!