I tend to do a lot of travel in my job, and I mean a lot. I have lost count of the number of times I have boarded a plane this year as I have had to make multiple domestic and international trips. And I couldn’t be happier. I am one of those people who is more than content to live out of a suitcase for periods of time. I even enjoy the whole airport experience, including getting there a few hours early as I hate being late to anything, so getting to the airport a couple of hours prior to my flight is rather comforting for me. All in all, I enjoy all aspects of travel. Except turbulence.
The other day when I was flying interstate, I had my usual window seat and was looking out at the clouds. I started to notice that the clouds were moving towards us fast, and before I knew it, I couldn’t see anything but white outside. Within a few minutes, the plane started to dip side to side and the shortly after the seatbelt sign came on and they announced that everyone needed to return to their seat. The turbulence got pretty bad, so I closed my eyes, leaned my head back and tried not to think about it. While turbulence doesn’t scare me (anymore, anyway), I don’t like the feeling it gives me; it’s like being on a roller coaster and feeling as if your stomach is about to drop out from under you. Add to that the nausea it brings me, and all in all, I am not a fan. In any case, I sat there in my seat and waited it out because really, what can I do about it?
While I was sitting there trying to not think about the fact that I was going to lose my breakfast at any moment, I realised that there really wasn’t anything I could do about the situation. Here I was, sitting on a plane with no visibility of what is ahead of us, at the complete mercy of the pilot who is flying the plane and a team of people on the ground somewhere that are monitoring our flight. I mean, I could get out of my seat and storm up to the pilot and demand he (or she) sort it out, but I won’t because he is the pilot and I am not. I do not know how to fly a plane, so I’m certainly not going to go up to someone who does and tell them how to do their job. In this situation, the wisest course of action is to trust the pilot and just wait for instruction. I willingly sat there and put my life into the hands of complete strangers and trusted them to get me to the ground safely.
Yet, when things go wrong in our life, or when war starts, or bad things happen, we are quick to jump up and start shaking our fists at the heavens and demanding that God do something about it. Think about it. There is so much death and devastation happening around the world at the moment and one of the most common things I read online is, ‘why won’t God do something about it?’. I have counselled numerous people through situations and I have lost count of the amount of times when people have asked me where God was, and why he allowed this to happen. Why is that? Why are we so quick to blame God for all the bad things, yet we barely acknowledge His grace and mercy in our everyday lives?
There is so much that is out of our control in this life. If you think you have complete control over every aspect of your life, I’m sorry but you are mistaken. Feel free to disagree with me but I honestly do not believe that we have as much control over our lives as we like to think we do. And we can try all we like to control everything, to extend our life, to prevent ageing and disease and build a huge nest egg for ourselves to retire on, but the truth is that in the blink of an eye that can all be taken away from us and there is little to nothing we can do about it. And if it happens, it’s not God’s fault. God is not sitting up in heaven giving people diseases and starting wars and famine. I firmly believe that God’s heart breaks more than ours at what is happening in the world. And you can blame religion for the wars all you like but the reality is that it’s us, humans, that decided to take life and death into our own hands and punish those that don’t agree with us, whether it was about religion or land or oil.
We are living in such a broken and hurting world and there is much we have no control over. There is so much happening around us that at times it is overwhelming seeing all that is happening and not being able to do much about it. But here is what we can do; we can focus on the things that we do have control over, like our words. Our actions. Our promises to those around us. Our integrity. In a world that is at times pretty bleak and dark, be a light! Be someone who makes others smile. Be someone people know they can depend on. Be someone who lives by their word and delivers on their promises. Don’t be someone who lies and cheats and has no integrity. Just because you can get away with something, doesn’t mean you should do it. Just because someone disagrees with you, or walks away from you, doesn’t mean you should set out to destroy their reputation and ruin their life. Just because you don’t agree with the way someone lives their life, it doesn’t mean you have a right to slander them and make them feel like there is something wrong with them because they fit into your version of normal.
I have seen so much anger and hatred and it’s not worth it. We need to be people who intentionally seek to make life better for those around us. Smile at a stranger, go talk to your neighbour, donate to charity, invite someone over for a meal. There is so much we can do to make this world a little better, a little brighter. Forgive people. They hurt you? Forgive them anyway. Forgiving doesn’t minimise what that person did, or condone it, it simply frees us up to live our life without the weight of anger and resentment and unforgiveness. It brings freedom. It brings peace. I have carried unforgivesness around in my life and I can tell you from experience that it is not worth it. Move on and let them be because at the end of the day, everyone is going to stand before their Maker one day and answer for their actions. So let them go, smile and wave and keep focusing on what, and who, is important. Keep your eyes and your heart fixed on Heaven and keep walking with your head held high.