“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?”- Amelia Earhart
A month after my seventeenth birthday, my parents took my best friend Cliff and me on a short vacation to Freeport, IL, where we visited my cousin Pat and her husband Ted. Disguised as a mild-mannered manager for the Social Security Administration, Ted’s secret career aspiration was to be a stunt pilot. On a warm, sunny August afternoon, Ted took two unsuspecting and impressionable teenagers on the air adventure of a lifetime in his Piper Cherokee (pictured). Demonstrating air maneuvers reminiscent of the famed Red Baron, Ted guaranteed an unforgettable experience of trust forever seared in our youthful memories. Despite our gut-wrenching fear, we clung to the hope that with Ted at the control wheel, he’d let us down to the runway- safely!
Our ministry downsizing or vocation loss shattered any illusions of control that kept us on auto pilot at cruising altitude. Yet our instinctive response is to desperately reassert our white-knuckled grip on the control wheel, relegating God to the supporting role of co-pilot. Sage advice from a bumper sticker provides a timely reality check: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.”
Max Lucado (A Gentle Thunder) observes that while we desire a swift, smooth landing amidst the turbulence of our desert, land between time, God is more concerned that we arrive prepared than that we arrive soon: ” . . . at the right time, God comes. In the right way, He appears. So don’t bail out. Don’t give up! . . . He is too wise to forget you, too loving to hurt you. When you can’t see him, trust him.” Yes, leaving our comfort zone is quite disconcerting, but revitalizing and revisioning our calling begins with placing our trust and hope in God, as John Ortberg explains:
“The call to get out of the boat involves crisis, opportunity, often failure, generally fear, sometimes suffering, always the calling to a task too big for us. But there is no other way to grow faith and partner with God.”