‘Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.’
Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
“The captain has switched on the fasten seat belt sign as we are experiencing some turbulence…” These are words I hate to hear on a flight. Despite all the itinerant jobs I have done, I am not actually a good traveller. My friends and colleagues will tell you I always prefer the front seat in the car – actually the driving seat! – and I regularly experience the dreadful nausea of travel sickness. It is always helpful to sit still and fix my eyes on whatever horizon I can see.
Turbulence comes in many shapes and forms – not just from a jet-stream 33,000 feet above the earth. Environmental and climatic events can be devastating in their effects. It is hard to imagine the trauma experienced by the people of Nepal during and since the recent earthquakes. Floods, tornados and erupting volcanos have all been in the news in the last week.
We may not live in an earthquake zone, but we can hit turbulence in all sorts of ways. The results of the recent general election were referred to as ‘a tsunami’ in Scotland. National life, church life, family life and personal life are all subject to disruption. Psychological, emotional and spiritual turbulence can be regular experiences as we simply live life and cope with all that comes our way.
What do we do when life is thrown into turmoil and we are left uncertain and feeling vulnerable in the light of events that are often beyond our control? This verse from the letter to the Hebrews gives great wisdom: when life is shaky for whatever reason, look to Jesus and keep looking at him. He is the horizon that we fix our gaze upon. He can be trusted to keep us steady and secure as he is the one who has imagined, initiated and brought into reality, perfected, our restored relationship with the living God.
How easily I put my trust in the pilot when the plane experiences turbulence – his knowledge, experience and skill will get us through. Why am I slower to put my trust in Jesus when life is bumpy? I need his knowledge, experience and skill to help me navigate all the turbulence in such a way that in the end he gets the glory.