As most of you know, I just returned from a trip to a remote area of Northern Ontario, just half an hour short of Pickle Lake -where the highway ends. It would take just as long to drive there as it takes to drive to Florida from here. That's a "right fur piece"! Fortunately, we got to fly.
I am not an experienced flyer by any means. I logged one trip to England 17 years ago, one trip to Florida 3 years ago, and this trip to Northern Ontario. I have yet to develop a flying "savvy". I didn't know, for instance, (or couldn't remember) that when you sit in the back of the aircraft, the loud "clunk" you hear just after the plane takes off is the landing gear being folded up and out of the way, not - as I thought for a brief flash - the engines falling off, and the plane about to crash. (Silly me!)
It occured to me several times, especially when we first took off from Sioux Lookout on Saturday in that duct-taped together old plane from Bearskin Airlines, that I should be scared silly. But then I remembered that I am covered by the blood of a precious Friend, dressed in His robes of righteousness, my life firmly held in his nail-scarred hands, and I was flying in the very shadow of his wings. I had NOTHING to be afraid of. Whether we lived, or whether we crashed, burned, and died, I am safe with Him. Every moment of every day. Loved. Intensely, thoroughly, unwaveringly, unceasingly, and irrevocably. Loved.
WHAT is there for me to be afraid of? What?
As we entered some turbulence over Lake Superior and the plane began to rock, rattle, and roll, I found myself quietly humming that old spiritual, "Rocka my soul, in the bosom of Abraham, oh, rocka ma soul..." And instead of the turbulence becoming a source of stress and fear, it became for me a physical manifestation of the song that was coming out of my heart.
We are not afraid! We don't ever have to be afraid. Come hell or high water. Plane crashes or stock market crashes. Terrorism, accidents, mishaps, trials, persecutions, you name it. If our lives are hid in Christ we are not - we cannot - be afraid.
What a gift. What an incredible gift.
As I sat rocking in that plane, I thought about the Jesus I am growing to know... The One who stopped to talk to the rich young ruler in Mark 10. Did you know Jesus was just leaving on a journey when that young man came up and barged into his day?
I too had been "leaving on a journey" that morning. I had a hundred things to do and a thousand things to remember in order to be ready to leave on time and not leave others in any kind of difficulty on my account. I can't imagine stopping and giving my complete attention to someone who seemed to have no regard at all for my agenda - like Jesus did with that self-centred young rich kid. However the account of that story in Mark indicates that he not only gave him the time of day, but was fully present for every moment of their encounter. It says Jesus "felt genuine love for him". He felt genuine love for someone who wasn't even ready yet to give up everything and to follow him.
I know he looks at me with that same kind of love. And I know he gives me his full attention, too. Even when I don't deserve it. Even when I barge into his day thinking only of myself.
That's the Jesus into whose hands I put my life. How could I not trust someone who loves me like that? How could I be afraid when my life is in his hands?
Romans 8: 35-39, NLT
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Amen!