It was in the early nineteen
seventies that some friends and I planned a trip to a distant city to attend a
class reunion and enjoy a Bible conference. They had wanted to go by air but,
because of my fear of flying, we all took the train.
I had always had a very great fear of flying. Just let me keep my feet flat on firm turf and I was content. My firm conviction was that if God wanted us to fly he would have given us wings. I had seen an Eagle fly and it looked nice but it was not for me.
After a long tiring trip of twelve hours we finally arrived in the windy city of Chicago. It was an extremely cold day. I have never experienced such biting wind and blowing snow stinging my face. It was a very long walk from where we exited the train till we reached the station. It was especially cold to us having come from the sunny south. I think my friends were more than a little unhappy with my idea of how to travel.
We spent several days there enjoying the conference and meeting former classmates. Then we separated and I went on by bus to another distant city to visit with my parents. When it was time for the return trip south I debated about giving in and flying home. I was really weary of train and bus travel and had no desire to repeat it. So, unknown to my friends, I made a reservation to fly back home.
The night before my flight was spent in restless dread and fear. I was sure if I got on that plane I would have a heart attack as soon as it left the ground. All kinds of things can run through your mind when fear festers.
My sister was a frequent flyer and when I told her of my fear she suggested that I pray. She had no idea how much I had been praying! I had prayed for the plane, the weather, the pilot and for a safe landing if we ever made it that far. However, her advice changed my prayer. She said that I should ask God to “take away my fear of flying”. That was a little different than my prayers had been. To me, to believe that God could take away fear was a challenge.
So my prayer for this kind of freedom continued until I stepped into the plane. It was a small plane but it would take me to another city where I would board a jet. As I sat down and looked out the window it was the most awesome experience of my life. As the plane took off into the air I had absolutely no fear. I had perfect peace. In my heart, that I thought would fail, I began to know something of what an Eagle must feel as it leaves its nest to soar though the air with confidence that the creator is in control. It was the most beautiful and most memorable trip of my life.
What a delightful example of the truth of Philippians 4:6 and 7, where God tells us to be “anxious for nothing” just pray about it. That means don’t worry about anything just pray to God about it. He promised that if we would give him our worries he would send peace to our hearts and minds. Only God can give that kind of peace. It was a wonderful learning experience. Our awesome God knew that I needed a time of fear in order to strengthen my faith and trust in Him.
In my many trips by air since then I have never known a moments fear. The peace that God gives is very real. On one occasion when the plane was flying through a storm with darkened skies and heavy rain I had a wonderful feeling of peace. I had learned the difference between fear and trust. Isa. 40:31.
It was a very interesting meeting when my friends who had suffered through the long trip home by train learned of my flight. When I tried to tell them how wonderful it was to travel by air they were not impressed. Suddenly a new flight was in order and my feet took wings…
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