WHO’S IN CHARGE OF YOU?

Oct
2019
05

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                        “But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, ‘You are my God!’                            My future is in your hands.”  (Psalm 31:14-15a)

You have no doubt seen the bumper stickers which profess, “God is My Co-pilot.”  The saying was perhaps taken from the 1943 Robert Lee Scott Jr. World War II memoir using these same words and later adapted as a 1945 film. Some in the Christian community have been critical that this expression sends the wrong message. They argue that when we say that God is a ‘co-anything’ – it makes Him the same as that with which He is compared. For instance, by saying God is your co-pilot, you may be giving the impression that you are equal to God. You may also be unintentionally indicating that you don’t totally trust God, because you are not allowing Him to be fully in charge. In the specific case of an airplane, the co-pilot fully takes over the controls from the main pilot only when told to do so. This begs the question:  if God is our co-pilot, do we do as we please and go where we want and only let God take over when needed? Would it be better perhaps to say, “God is My Pilot.”  It’s certainly food for thought.

In her 2019 book, Nerves of Steel, author Tammie Jo Shults tells a powerful personal story of landing a damaged Southwest Airliner. On April 17, 2018, Shults was the captain of a routine four-hour domestic flight carrying 148 passengers from the LaGuardia to Dallas airports. Only 20 minutes into the flight at about 32,000 feet, a piece of a turbine fan blade dislodged and caused catastrophic engine damage. The plane began to violently shudder, and debris shattered one of the passenger windows releasing air out of the cabin.  Passengers screamed, prayed, and began to send messages to their loved ones on the ground. Working together, Shults and her first officer were able to stabilize the aircraft. It was then that Shults made an intercom announcement stating, “We are not going down . . . we are going to Philly.” When the aircraft was cleared for landing, the Captain uttered two words in the form of a question: “Heavenly Father?” It was as if she yielded the control of the plane to a higher authority by asking, “Okay God – you got this?” With an aircraft that was resisting being steered in every way, Shults knew they had only one shot. And one shot was all that they needed.

One of the major reasons many Christians consistently fail in their lives is because they want to be in charge using God as a back-up when their plans do not work out. This attitude is always a platform for disaster. Consider the times you have tried to maintain control of your own life and ended up in one big mess. On those occasions you most likely turned to God ending up being rescued only when you finally surrendered to His will. When we decide to follow Christ, we must unlearn the falsehood that we are not the ‘captain of our own destiny’. Moses instructed Joshua and the people of Israel: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). In the midst of a life-or-death emergency, the Lord prepared and guided Captain Tammie Jo Shults through incredible feat. Afterwards, passengers said that her one simple reassuring message, “We’re not going down,” made all the difference. By stating this, the distraught travelers knew that their pilot was in control and that there was a plan and a safe destination awaiting them. As followers of Christ, we must cling to that viewpoint in our spiritual walk as well.

The passengers of the Southwest Airlines Flight quickly learned a lesson that sometimes the road is going to get bumpy. However, if you fully place your trust in the right captain – you will realize that He is in control. Like the Apostle Paul, we are affirmed by the turbulent times we experience. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering” (Romans 8:17). When we say God is our pilot instead of our co-pilot, we yield to His direction and recognize that because of His grace – we are indeed co-heirs.  Someone once said, “If God is your co-pilot, then switch seats. If the devil is your co-pilot, then switch planes!” Asking God to guide our vessel is a life-altering decision.  So . . . who’s in charge of you?

REFLECTION: Have there been aspects of your life you have released to God’s control? What parts have you attempted to personally control? What will it take to for you to fully allow God to be in charge?

A NEW LOOKUP  DEVOTION IS UPLOADED EACH WEEK. THE NEXT WEEKLY POSTING WILL BE ON SAT., OCTOBER 12 , 2019. COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

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