Those who have ridden very many times on an airplane have likely experienced turbulence, where the winds cause the plane to jerk around like a deacon on a dance floor!

A while back I was on a flight from San Antonio to Seattle. I've been on plenty of flights, especially on the airline I was flying that day, so turbulence doesn't really bother me. Besides, while I'm not really looking for reasons to leave this world (although there are plenty), if the plane goes down, I have great hopes of "going up." As the Apostle Paul put it in Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

As we were en route, the plane flew into a storm, and thus the turbulence began. I glanced around at the (pre-coronavirus) full plane to observe reactions and witnessed four types of people.

1. There were those who didn't look up; the experienced travelers who had "been there, done that" many times with turbulence.

2. There were those who - experienced or not - became wide-eyed and fretful.

3. There were those (evidently me) who, although experienced fliers, looked up to see other people's reactions. (Am I a gawker? Let's just say I take after my Pop, who used to sit on the mall bench & watch people while Mom shopped.)

4. There was the little boy who thought it was great - just enjoying the ride and giggling as his stomach turned flips.

Then, of course, there was the pilot up front who knew about the storm beforehand, knew its intensity, knew how to maneuver through it, and knew things would get better on the other side.

I guess because I am a pastor and am always looking for sermon illustrations (and now blog material), this situation reminded me of the storms of life; you know, those turbulent times that come along and jerk us around.

Sometimes we take a "been there, done that" attitude because we're experienced in life's travails. The blessing is we don't get worried; however, by keeping our head down, sometimes we miss out on opportunities to bring courage or comfort to others in the midst of the storm.

Sometimes we become fearful, not knowing what to do, feeling out of control, concerned about the future; but thankful once it passes.

Sometimes we look around to see how others are reacting - maybe to judge how we should react (peer pressure?) but hopefully to also give encouragement to others.

Sometimes we are like the child - blissfully ignorant but hopefully enjoying the ride.

But at all times there is THE PILOT - God Himself - who knows when the storm is coming, knows how intense it will get, knows what everyone's reaction will be (including the reaction on the inside), and knows that everything will be OK and better on the other side.

That's my Pastoral Perspective. Thanks for reading!

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