Hello and welcome to a new post on Renaissance Woman!
This post is going up on the blog a bit later than usual as I travelled to San Antonio for the weekend to take part in a retreat. The Bishop of my church was going to do some teaching and then we were all going to celebrate his 70 years in the ministry! The theme of the weekend was “A Living Rest” and it was as I was on my way back home I saw the truth of that illustrated.
I have not travelled on my own in almost twenty years. And, any travelling I have done has been as a passenger in a vehicle. I have not flown anywhere in all that time. It so happened my family could not travel with me to the retreat and, if I wanted to go, I was going to have to go on my own. I did consider staying home but decided I couldn’t be a coward, I was a grown adult, and my brain injury was not going to keep me home. It did not and, though I did experience struggles, everyone I asked for help was so incredibly nice and I got to where I needed to go with all my questions answered.
I had a marvelous time but was definitely ready to get home. It was as I waited for my return flight that I sat in the airport watching the day grow darker and darker as the fog settled in. I occasionally glanced at the board to see if the fog would be enough to cancel my flight but there was never a change in status. Despite the thickening fog, my flight remained on time.
The day was still foggy and damp by the time I boarded my plane and took my window seat but the pilot and flight attendants made their announcements and the flight attendants made their final checks. The pilots began taxiing away from the terminal.
I was enjoying watching it all through the window: the different colored lights, the way the pilots so easily maneuvered that massive plane away from the terminal and onto the runway. A gray fog still hung over the other planes and various buildings and I could only continue to watch as the pilots fired up the engines and took off, apparently unperturbed by the fog.
Then, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My seat was directly over the wing and I could easily see one of the engines outside my window. As the plane rose into the air, the engine was all I could see. Anything else including the ground from which we were pulling away, was obliterated from sight by thick fog.
I was certain the pilots couldn’t be relying on their own sight: they couldn’t be able to distinguish anything more than I could. No doubt they had to be relying on their instruments which must be so sophisticated that they render human eyesight unnecessary. The pilots must have implicit trust, not only in their training but in their instruments, that taking off into a blinding fog wasn’t worth a second thought.
As for me, I was in control of nothing. Lift off or cancellation, none of it was my choice. All I could do was sit in my seat and trust the pilots. My trust was both in their abilities and in their trust in the capabilities of the aircraft.
That trust was not misplaced. In only a few moments, the plane had ascended above the clouds themselves and there wasn’t a wisp of fog to be seen. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I was on my way home. As I looked out at the clouds spread out as far as my eye could see and lit by the sun, I saw illustrated what I had learned at the retreat.
A close translation of Galatians 2:20 is, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf.” (See the Literal, King James, and Greek Interlinear) I’ve mentioned it before but it fascinates me that the Greek tou, which is not 3588 in the Strong’s Concordance but 5120, appears three times in this passage and is translated “in”, “of”, and “the (One)”.
It may seem like splitting hairs but I find there is a massive difference between living my life by faith in the Son of God and living by faith of the Son of God. Within the context of my illustration, I could have freaked out, gripped the armrests of my seat, and said over and over, “I have faith in the pilots, I have faith in the plane, I have faith that weird noise I heard doesn’t mean the engine is about to fly off this wing.” Or, I could do as I did and rest in my seat, marveling that the fog was no deterrent to their taking off and knowing that as long as the pilots and flight attendants remained calm, there was no reason for me not to do so. I suppose I could say my faith was “in” them but it wasn’t, not really. My faith was their faith and I could enjoy the takeoff in perfect rest because the pilots and flight attendants knew what I did not and the pilots could see what I could not.
One of my Bible Teachers shares a similar illustration. He was on a flight that began to experience turbulence and was getting nervous but then saw the flight attendant in her seat scrolling through her phone, unfazed by being bounced around. I see exactly what he is saying as we encountered turbulence coming into Denver. I looked around to see the cabin shifting back and forth and could feel the plane bump and jerk. I looked out to see the wing raising and lowering and realized the pilots weren’t fighting the turbulence but were-quite literally-rolling with it. One of the flight attendants then announced that while we were experiencing some turbulence, it was quite normal to do so coming into Denver. Again, I could rest in their experience and knowledge.
Jesus Himself is my living rest. Jesus is my forerunner (Hebrews 6:20). He is the One who is far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named (Ephesians 1:21). He declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done (Isaiah 46:10). My faith is His faith made a reality in me through the indwelling of His Spirit. There are so many times I am following the leading of the Spirit and yet fog settles into the situation and I cannot see the outcome. Lift off or cancellation? The result is entirely out of my control. Yet I rest. I rest in Jesus Christ who has overcome the world. I rest in the certainty that He sees what I cannot.
Just one more observation before I close: once the plane was above the clouds, it appeared as if we were hovering. I knew that wasn’t possible and that the plane was travelling at hundreds maybe thousands of miles per hour. (I have since Googled it and found the average airspeed of a 747 is 550mph). And so, even though I looked as though we weren’t moving at all, I knew that wasn’t the truth.
I have these times in my Christian life as well. My vision is not obscured: the sun is shining and the sky is blue. And yet I looks to me as if I am not making any progress at all. Here too, my faith is the faith of Jesus Christ. Because He is in me and I am in Him, I share His Oneness with the Father who has created me in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand so that I would walk in them (See Ephesians 2:10). Not only that, but I know His word is true and that He who has begun a good work in me will continue to perfect and complete it until the Day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). It doesn’t matter how it may appear to me for I am in the current of the Holy Spirit and we are ever pressing on towards the goal.
Jesus Christ is the perfect gift given by the Father for the world. I in Him and Him in me I find not only my very life but a perfect living rest.
Praise His name! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Galatians 2:20 Interlinear: with Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ doth live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh — in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and did give himself for me; (biblehub.com)
Green, Jay P., The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew Greek English, Volume 4, Authors for Christ, Inc., Lafayette, Indiana, 1985
Marshall, Reverend A., The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1958,1970
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990