I'm not a fan of flying. In fact, I'm deathly afraid of it. And yet, about a month ago I felt the strong call to book a plane flight for the annual Anglican 1000 conference in Plano, Texas. So later this month I'll be flying high on my way to hang out with the leaders of the ACNA. Pretty awesome. Not to mention the chance to hear Tim Keller speak is a blessing. His book 'A Reason For God' is at the top of my list.
The nice thing is...I have felt a great peace about boarding the plane for these flights. (There will be four total.) Please understand that my fear of flying goes pretty deep. I can even feel queasy when watching a plane in the air as I'm safely anchored to the earth. So actually living through turbulence can be traumatic for me. And I know it's completely irrational and that it's the safest way to travel etc. But none of that really helps me deal with the fear. I had my man card pulled the time I was with my wife and I actually cried. Yea. I'm not kidding.
So...I've decided to man up. As Saint Paul would have said...I board the plane with the earnest expectation and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Phil 1:20)
In other words...I'm going to be a man about it. Live or die...I do it in Christ's name. In Christ I have found something worth losing everything for. I'm going to abandon myself this year, and respond to God's call. When Jesus called to his disciples and said 'follow me', they didn't wonder about whether they'd be safe...they did it. They turned away from their earthly concerns about their careers and their families, and their mortgages...and they went. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that the first call of every Christian experience is to abandon the attachments of this world. He stated further in his book The Cost of Discipleship, that 'when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.'
If I were to refuse to fly, I'd be telling God he wasn't enough. I'd be saying that my faith in his call is not strong enough to risk my temporal existence for His eternal promises. He would become negotiable, but my fear of losing my known existence could not. It would be a demonstration of my lack of thankfulness for Christ's enduring sacrifice. In fearing for my own life, I tell Christ that I'm unconvinced about the depth and effectiveness of the cross.
So I'm getting on the plane with a clear conscience. I've heard the call, and I'm forgetting my fears to do Christ's bidding. I'm dying to my concerns, and living in Christ.
My Prayer for this trip:
"Lord only in your presence are fullness and joy forever more. (Ps. 16:11) My life that I am working so hard to preserve will only wear away as time moves on, but your promises to me will last forever. I live by your sheer grace! That means although I don't deserve things to go right, I know you are working them all out for good because you love me in Christ. Rom. (8:28) My security in life is not based on luck or hard work, but on your gracious love for me. You have counted every hair on my head (matt. 10:30 ) and every tear down my cheeks (ps. 56:8). You love me far more and better than anyone else loves me, even more than I love myself.
You have told me that there is no condemnation for me now. (Rom. 8:1) you delight and sing over me (Zeph 3:14-17) Let me be satisfied with your love. (Ps. 90-14) My God, take this fear from my heart, and replace it with love and trust for you. Through the Holy Spirit, replace my inequities and anxieties with the power of the risen Christ. Grant me the courage to fly. In Jesus name I humbly pray. Amen."