We have watched in horror the unfolding of the typhoon which hit The Philippines late last week, leaving a path of destruction that is hard to fathom. Our school has many students of Filipino descent so it has been especially heartbreaking but we rejoice with the fact that it appears most relatives are safe. The following is about my trip through a storm, though mild in comparison, from March 19, 2006.
Spring Break is over. Tomorrow morning, we crank it up again with only two months left in the school year; the home stretch! I spent last week in St. Louis. Transportation to my folks' house is always Southwest Airlines. It's no frills and first come, first seated. I never have trouble finding a seat because I don't mind sitting in the back. It doesn't make sense to me to rush; the luggage takes ten minutes to be out on the carousel anyway. My flight yesterday for the first time was routed through Love Field in Dallas, best known as the location where LBJ was sworn in as president after the Kennedy assassination. We were supposed to be on the ground for twenty minutes in Dallas. It turned into an hour. They made the announcement that they were adding 1,000 extra pounds of jet fuel because we were going to take an alternate route into Houston. Saturday was a rough weather day in Texas with thunderstorms abundant. As we took off, the pilot was honest. He said there would be rough spots and turbulence and we were to stay seated. He told the truth. It was one of the bumpiest rides I have had. During flights where the plane shakes, I recite hymns to myself. My hymn of choice yesterday was Lead, Kindly Light. Penned by John Newman, Lead, Kindly Light was written in midst of the author's boat trip in which progress was stalled by calm weather for a week.
Lead, kindly Light amid the encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet,
I do not ask to see
The distant scene,
One step enough for me.
I find assurance in those more than one hundred fifty year old words. I also found assurance in the way the pilot spoke to us. He did not sugar coat what we were about to encounter but there was no nervousness in his voice. I took comfort in the fact that he knew what he was doing and the passengers were safely in his capable hands. Our Christian walk is like that. We grow restless and uneasy when turbulence comes and the shaking starts, in spite of assurances the Lord has given us. He never sugar coated the fact that there would be trials but he guarantees our outcome will be in his hands if we let him take the controls. My sophomores this week will study Jesus calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee. We aren't told how many were were in the boat but we can feel confident in saying only one of them was taking a nap as the squall raged. After they shook him awake and he rebuked the weather, he asked them this question: "Why are you so afraid?" Two thousand years later, the same question still needs to be asked when our faith wavers and our trust is shaky. Yesterday, we landed safely in Houston like I knew we would. It was rougher than I would have appreciated but I remember the trip. Do you know what I recall about my flight into St. Louis eight days ago? Not one thing. The turbulence made the trip memorable. The weather men say Houston is in for rough storms tonight but that's OK. Those meteorologists can only predict the weather. We know the one who can CONTROL the winds and the waves.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Flying is awful; there's nothing to do when you're up in the air. I bloat up, my skin gets dry, and when we hit turbulence, I'm terrified."
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