Two weekends ago the weather was good for flying. Not perfect. A layer of haze, hot and moist, hung in the late summer sky, but visibility was good. My husband, Bruce, eager to get behind the controls, began his pre-flight check. I stepped onto the wing, slid into my seat, and let out a deep sigh. I was ready for the break.
Since spring, lessons on the craft of writing have consumed me. While they have morphed my work into a better read, they have slowed its progress. This blog has been neglected entirely.
God, it’s your book, your blog. Help me stay true to your priorities.
I snapped on my seat belt.
Kids and grandkids, free from school, have also provided happy stretches of summer diversion.
God, our children are yours too. Help me stay true especially to them.
I snugged on my headphones and adjusted the mic.
Most recently, a volley of written attacks lobbed against a loved one had thrown me temporarily off course. The vicious nature of the attacks had shocked all of us.
Father God, despite the lies, help me to stay as true to duty as the needle is to the pole, just like my husband reminds me. And thanks for this get-a-way.
Bruce climbed into the pilot’s seat and pulled down the cockpit’s glass hatch. He completed the final check and taxied onto the runway. He communicated our intent to take off. We would turn left and go north. With flaps adjusted and engine at full throttle, he lifted us smoothly into the air.
The ground below became a patchwork of homes, rivers, and fields.
“See.” He pointed to the top of the controls. “There’s the magnetic compass we’ve been talking about. Even with my high tech, Garman G1000 panel, there is still a magnetic compass.”
“So tell me again,” I said. “What makes a compass not work well?”
“Deviation. Variation. Local Disturbance. To name three. You have to take those into consideration to stay on course and for the needle to stay true to the pole.”
“It is. Just like life,” he spoke the truth through his mic. “Deviation is a magnetic disturbance that is fairly constant and located near the compass. Deviation is caused by something like iron in the plane’s engine. If you navigated by compass, you would have to take that into consideration.”
“Deviation is kind of like making adjustments for life’s regular challenges?”
“Right.” Bruce reached his goal of three-thousand feet altitude and pushed on the auto pilot. “Variation is also fairly constant, caused by a band of iron in northern Canada and around the globe. When you fly, you still have to adjust your degrees so that you head true north and not just magnetic north.”
“And that’s like?” I asked.
“It’s called variation because the needle changes depending on where you are at over the earth’s surface. It changes with time.”
“So we might vary from our duty by where we are at in our own personal journey?”
He scanned the sky around us. I opened a book.
“Local disturbances are the hardest,” he continued. “Significant iron deposits are scattered over the earth and can cause a local disturbance. To be prepared, you have to know where they are. If you are over a local disturbance, you ignore the magnetic compass because it can do crazy things.”
“Yeah, wow. Just like personal attacks. We get distracted while our life’s needle swings crazily, away from our pole of duty. But God allows for that, don’t you think?”
“For sure he does. At least the God I know does. He helps to keep us on course, as long as we watch and listen.”
I turned to my book. My headphones muffled the whoosh of the wind and the engine’s steady roar.
“Traffic ahead. One o’clock.” The airplane’s automatic alert system sounded its robot voice. “One mile. Same altitude.”
I grabbed the top of the control panel and peered in the one o’clock direction toward the haze.
“Where is it? I can’t see it!”
“Right there!” Bruce threw the plane into manual control and nose-dived. “Look up.”
A small plane passed overhead. It flew straight on.
“Whew! Maybe three-hundred feet to spare.” Bruce leveled our plane. “I don’t think he even saw us.”
“He probably doesn’t have an alert system,” I said. “Either that or he got distracted.” I settled back in my seat. “Woah.”
“That will make your heart race.” Bruce shook his head.
Thank you, Father. Thank you for guiding us through yet another local disturbance.
Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. Matthew 26:41
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5:8
How has God guided you through the deviations, variations, or local disturbances in your life? Please share!
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