I used to wish, when I was a teen, that I could be a flight attendant (heh, heh—we called them airline stewardesses back then in the olden days). I had never flown, but the hustle and bustle of the airport enticed me, and flying in an airplane sounded exotic.
My life took a surprising turn a few years later, and I eventually found myself 1,000 miles away from the state I’d grown up in. I had landed a job I couldn’t wait to start: teaching English, public speaking, and drama at a small, private Christian college.
As the time to fly away drew near, I became more and more apprehensive. Then I was nervous. The day of my flight, I was in full-blown aerophobia, complete with knots in the stomach, sweaty palms, and pounding heart.
I rushed around that morning, getting all my last minute stuﬀ tucked into my suitcase, and then my mom, sister (Hi, Marta!) and I were oﬀ to the airport.
My first flight of the day was short—about 50 minutes from Portland to Seattle, and then I had a 1 1/2 hour layover before the longer leg of the journey. At the gate, I caught sight of the plane on which I would be experiencing my first flight ever. My eyes grew large with shock. It was a tiny prop plane, like a little airbus, that seated maybe 25 people or so (sorry, don’t remember which kind of aircraft it was, and my little bit of research just now didn’t help me). It was so small, it wasn’t even pulled up to the gate. It was parked out on the tarmac, with a metal staircase pulled up to it. I nearly had a heart attack just looking at it.
My mom was woefully deficient in sympathy that day. She saw my alarm, and leaned over to say what I thought would be words of encouragement. Imagine my amusement when she quipped, “Oh, don’t worry, Lori. When they get over Seattle, they’ll just open a trap door in the floor and drop you out.” She actually thought it was funny! Well, so did I, but I’m sure I had the presence of mind to give her a withering look, anyway.
Well, I fervently prayed my way through that first flight, and survived, despite deep nail marks in the palms of my hands and enough sweat to float a small boat. So much for being a flight attendant (which wouldn’t have worked anyway, since I am over 5’ 9” tall).
I hadn’t had time to have my devotions that morning, so I shakily pulled my Bible out of my bag in the Sea-Tac airport. I first turned to the Psalm that was next on my reading list, and partly through the Psalm this is what I read:
“For your faithful love is as high as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.”
Psalms 57:10 (CSB)
I’m serious. That was from the day’s Psalm. I sat there with a smile spreading across my face (I first accidentally typed “…across my faith”. I considered leaving it, since it was such an ironic mistake, but, oh, well). Wow! God has a pretty keen sense of humor.
I kept thinking about clinging to that verse throughout my next flight, and I remind God about it every time I fly. It’s like a little inside joke between me and Him.
Since then, I have, of course, faced many more serious and meaningful fears. I often wrestle through them, praying through God’s Word. It’s a form of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling”. And God is faithful, even in those dark times.
Now, how about you? Any phobias? Silly ones or deep, abiding, debilitating fears? What does God say about them? What might you do with them? How do you pray and think about them?
I highly recommend the method I mentioned, praying God’s Word back to Him. Ask Him for an appropriate verse. I believe He likes to hear requests like that. Who knows? You and He might even work out your own inside joke.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are protected.”
Proverbs 18:10 (CSB)