Fear of Flying

I am about to get on an airplane yet again as I write this. I am among the blessed who can fly with ease. Mind you, the teeny-tiny lavs on the newer planes give me heart-palpitating claustrophobia that only the urgent needs of nature can override, but I am one of the lucky ones in that I enjoy air travel. God knew what he was doing when he gave me this particular gift, since I ended up marrying a pilot.

I have many friends who struggle with a fear of flying. They either give into it to the point that they never venture beyond where they can drive, or they suffer greatly while flying and rely on different kinds of medication to endure what others truly enjoy.

Did you ever think that “fear of flying” relates to things other than air travel?

Like the mother who subtly works against her daughter applying to out of state colleges…

The empty nester couple who are presented with a fantastic business opportunity in a faraway place, but they can’t commit…

The choir member who carries her section but refuses to solo…

The fellow called to preach who can’t bring himself to fill out the seminary application…

The college student who returns home to work retail rather than take the job in the big city…

The person struggling with an eating addiction who turns away from programs proven to work…

The abused partner who is afraid to flee…

…If you struggle with leaving the familiar to launch out into the unknown, you are not alone.

Consider Gideon, who was caught threshing wheat in a wine press. Think about that: threshing wheat was an outdoor activity, done in an open spot where the wind could carry away the chaff and leave the good wheat exposed. Doing this activity in a wine press was good for only one thing: hiding from the marauding Midianites who routinely came through Israel to steal, pillage and destroy.

But he was found in there, not by raiders, but by an angel of the Lord. This angel brought the surprising news that Gideon was to be a great warrior and would lead his people out of misery.

But Gideon struggled with leaving the familiar to launch out into the unknown.

Judges 6 (NIV)

14 But God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?”

15 Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.”

16 God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”

And eventually, Gideon did just that. He left the safety of the winepress and launched out. With jars and trumpets and a small army, Gideon defeated Midian because he believed God was with him. As small and runty as he felt, he found confidence in what God said he could do if he was obedient to God.

Where is God calling you to step out in faith today? What departure from your comfort level is God requiring of you?

God is with you, too. Whatever dark and frightening thing is causing you to hide in your wine press, God is already there. He is ready for you to take the next step, and he promises to be with you, always.

So please fasten your seatbelt. Make sure your tray table is in its upright and locked position. You have been cleared for takeoff! Go with God.

Sunset over ATL.

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