Buckle Up

Lightning flashed across the night sky as our plane taxied toward the runway.

“We’re going to try to sneak outta here between lightning strikes,” the pilot announced.

Oh boy, I thought. This will be interesting.

A cluster of severe storms had descended upon the DFW metroplex that evening, grounding all flights out of Love Field. Until the storms passed, takeoffs would be too risky to attempt, the airport staff had explained.

Apparently, our adventurous pilot had other ideas.

As thunder rumbled overhead, we braced ourselves for what we knew was coming:

t u r b u l e n c e .

And we were not disappointed! Almost as soon as our Southwest jet lifted off of the ground, we ran into major turbulence. It felt like we were being violently tossed and battered in the air—not a fun sensation. With each new sudden dip or drop, my fellow passengers would gasp and cling to their seats, sometimes uttering choice words to express their displeasure. Although I knew we were safe, it was still a harrowing and jarring experience. Relief washed over me when we finally landed at our destination later that night.

In some ways, that stormy flight is an apt metaphor for our lives, isn’t it? I used to think that life was a nice smooth ride from cradle to grave, but recently, God’s shown me that’s just not the case. This is a fallen, sinful world. Bad things happen. It gets awfully rough sometimes.

Several times in His word, God tells us to, well,

buckle up.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. | 1 Peter 5:8-9

In other words: be prepared. There’s dangerous stuff out there. If you think you can cheerfully coast through life without getting banged up along the way, you might want to reconsider.

Sooner or later, turbulence will come.

Of course, that’s not to say we should be gloomy and pessimistic like Eeyore, or panicky and afraid like Chicken Little. But let’s at least honestly recognize that, in this life, tough times are part of the bargain. Doubts will challenge our faith. Friendships will fall apart. Health crises will strike close to home. All of us will at times be criticized, misled, challenged, shaken, and hurt.

But I can also promise you this: Even when turbulence and the storms of life shake you to the core, our Heavenly Father is still totally in control, and He knows what He’s doing. He has a purpose in whatever you’re going through, and He’ll bring you through. It won’t be quick, it won’t be easy, but He will sustain you.

Yes, turbulence will come.
But our Pilot is in control.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. | 1 Peter 5:10

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