Pilots & Promises: Lessons in Pilgrimage

Guest Author: Becky Collier

As per custom, the pilot gave his usual announcement as the plane descended through the clouds and the attendants prepared for landing. My stomach fluttered, and I glanced at our three oldest children, instinctively noticing their eyes glazed with exhaustion, clothes and hair disheveled. Lethargically, they gathered their belongings and buckled their third and final seat belt of the day. My little sojourners. Their young, sweet faces and sad countenances revealed their fears of returning to a strange, far away country, far away from loved ones and familiarity, where people spoke a strange language. My dear husband, sleep deprived, body limp, sat staring ahead, he too with eyes glazed thoroughly spent from three months of self-abandoned service to his Savior and burden laden for State-side saints. Our one year old laid almost lifeless across my lap for the entire duration of our final flight, to then finally stir from her slumber to give me a dream drunk smile, and coo, completely oblivious to yet another journey and major life change. She nestled her head deep into my chest, and I sang softly, lulling her back to sleep. I, also sleep deprived and physically exhausted, sat still in my seat, breathing deep, my heart and mind flooded with emotions. Yet, another life was growing inside of me, and a faint heartbeat pounded alongside of mine. With chin down, eyes fixed, I drew a long breath, and slowly exhaled, FOCUS. From the deep inner wells of my being, the Spirit surfaced with comforting words,

You will keep him at perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For Yah, the Lord is everlasting strength. | Isaiah 26:3-4

Oh, Jehovah, help!

From the plane’s window, I saw the sun setting with its beautiful warm hues, casting shadows and creating silhouettes on the jagged yet rolling coast line of Honduras. Teeny grass huts lined the beaches and scattered puffs of smoke swirled above the tree line, speckling the forests and hills with an occasional flickering light. As we continued our descent, certain familiar villages, towns, and land marks drew closer and my eyes began to fill with tears as my thoughts retreated to memories of meetings, encounters, and moments of sweet fellowship, all in the name of Jesus in this far away country… far away from loved ones, where people speak a strange language. Five months was a short time to form so many fond memories and relationships, and here we were again on the verge of nine months worth of many more. Wiping the escaping tear, I scolded myself,  “See, You? Even in hardship past, God proved faithful. Watch Him do above and beyond all you could ask or think…”

With a jolt and a jerk of the plane, the captain informed us of turbulence in the way. His voice calmly boomed over the loud speaker, assuring his passengers, even in the midst of turbulence and the typical difficult Tegucigalpa landing through the valley, this was NOT his FIRST decent through the hovering Honduran clouds, and he would, without a doubt, guide us safely to our approaching destination. I could feel gravity’s fight as the nose of the plane dipped forward and my stomach rose slowly to my throat. Here we go. Across the isle, the three children leaned forward, gaze cast, their eyes locked on mine, searching for assurance. My little sojourners, experienced as they were, still needed comfort. I leaned forward, a twitching smile fluttered across my lips, and I mouthed the words, “Just a little while longer…We’re almost there.” With nervous and uneasy excitement, they returned the smile, exchanged quick looks amongst themselves, and fixed the back of their heads firmly against their seats.

I, too, sitting back, closed my eyes.  Shaken from my fear invoked stupor, His words resounded again, “Just a little while longer…peace…let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:19,27) “The Mighty One will save…He will quiet you with His love…He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph 3:17) How sobering. Jehovah. The Mighty One. Quieting with His LOVE. Just as I, compassionately compelled to meet my children’s needy gaze with one of assurance, love, and a word of encouragement, my Jesus was quieting me, lulling me with His presence. Though I flew with heavy heart and known hardships ahead, returning to a strange country, far away from loved ones, where people spoke a strange language, sure to His word, the Comforter was helping to give peace by bringing to remembrance His faithful promises. Just as the captain of our flight assured us of his ability and of the destination in view, The Captain of my Salvation was reminding me, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” I’m bringing you to glory. (John 14:3; Heb 2:10) Deep breath. FOCUSED.

I opened my eyes. I gripped my seat with one hand, bracing myself and the baby in the other, for the forthcoming touch-down. The plane fought it’s final fight forward, downward toward the landing strip, rattling and shaking as the noise of wind and engines burned, roaring furiously, not far from my window. The wheels hit the ground with an abrupt thud, skidding to a stand-still with an ear piercing screech. The smells of burnt rubber and fuel filled the air, and as per custom for landing in the capital, the passengers gave a hearty cheer and they applauded reaching their destined safe haven.

Dear One, you, too, may be experiencing some sort of turbulence in the way, with a heavy heart and relentless hardships in view. Don’t be frazzled with nerves frayed by cares too big to carry on your own. Take captive the crippling worries and crouching fears ready to pounce. Close your eyes, breath deep, and retreat to be comforted by His love. Do you truly believe He listens and gives attention to your prayers? (Ps 66:19) He said He does. TRUST your Savior. Do not lose sight of the privilege of His presence, the comfort of Holy Spirit, or take for granted the provision and accessibility of His word. We have relationship, not religion, so don’t delay, access the throne of God. DELIGHT in His LOVE. Allow yourself to be carried away and your soul ravished with heart bowed at His feet in adoration and worship. Make worship a lifestyle and your heart, it’s occupation. One day we will be with Him face-to-face, but until then we have the Spirit as a guarantee, a glimpse of Heaven, a taste of better things yet in in store. Don’t forget where you’re going or where you came from… “Happy are the people whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Destination: Homeland. Our citizenship is in the Heavens! (Ps 84:5, Phil 3:20)

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,

Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

–Frances R. Havergal

You will keep him at perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For Yah, the Lord is everlasting strength.Isaiah 26:3-4

3 thoughts on “Pilots & Promises: Lessons in Pilgrimage

  1. This is so beautifully written, and I know that so many people can relate.., When we’re going through such difficult times, the only peace and hope that we can have in our hearts is through our awesome God, faithfully fulfilling His promises to us on a daily basis. Thank you Becky!! 🙂

  2. Thank you for your lyrical thoughts that whisked me away, Becky. You transported me to that very moment with you! Grateful for peace and rest in Him who carries us through all of life’s turbulent and calm times. ^_^

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