Another Word…by Gus Keiser

July 31, 2017


Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

                                                                                                                                 Genesis 12:1

This year it was the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. In previous years it’s been them, or the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, or the ever-popular U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds who have fascinated the Westmoreland County Airshow spectators with their close maneuvers, aerial acrobatics and precision flying.

I’ve seen the Thunderbirds three times over the years we’ve lived here in Western Pennsylvania, but have never actually attended the air show. The first time was quite a number of years ago while I was doing some preparatory work for a confirmation camp program.  That day I’m not sure I was even cognizant of the fact the air show was that weekend.  After having gone over to the camp which is about thirty or so miles east of Greensburg, I stopped at St Vincent College on the way back to check out for the first time, Steeler training camp.  While I was standing by the field watching them, the Thunderbirds suddenly appeared overhead, doing a practice performance before the airshow the next day.  The other two times I witnessed them was after I learned about these practice runs that took place mid-afternoon on the Friday before the actual show.  One time I took Sunshine over to watch and the next time it was Jordan, who decided he was going to skip his last day of high school to make the journey.

While watching these close-order maneuvers (with the wingtips at times not more than inches apart), it fascinating me to watch the maneuverability and the capability of these F-16 fighter jets. The F-16 was developed to act as a support weapons system for some of the Air Force’s larger and more expensive fighter aircraft.  They’re able to fly at top speeds of 1300 mph at a ceiling of 50,000 feet, which they are able to reach in about 60 seconds.

And whether it’s in one of their shows or as a combat plane, the F-16 needs one vital element to be effective: a pilot who is complete control. Despite its whiz-bang technology, without a pilot in complete control an airborne F-16 would either fly uselessly in a straight line or spiral out of control.  Either way, a devastating crash is inevitable.

In the same way, if we possess every gift imaginable but don’t allow God to guide us in using those gifts, we as well will be useless. Or even worse, we might spiral out of control, with our lives crashing.  As the ultimate “Pilot” of your life (I guess that means that the “God is my co-pilot” bumper stickers are meaningless), God can do amazing things with us, his own “F-16’s”.

For instance, let’s suppose Abraham had decided to set out on his own way instead of taking the journey God had set before him. What if he had decided to pack up bag and baggage and go it alone?  His journey could well have turned into a meaningless and purposeless disaster.  But he didn’t go it alone; instead he chose to listen to and follow God’s lead.  He chose to let God be the “Pilot”.  And by doing so, Abraham experience God’s blessings…and the rewards were greater than he could have ever imagined.

God’s blessings and God’s piloting will provide the same results for us. When we begin a relationship with him, he calls us to leave behind what’s been comfortable and familiar for us and to set out on a journey filled with wonder, blessings, and his promise of a new life.  It’s on that journey to obedience that we’ll leave behind old habits, old attitudes, old sins, and old ways of thinking.

How about letting God be the Pilot of your life. Allow him to guide you, offering you not only a full and satisfying journey through life but a home for all eternity.  Just like the F-16 pilot, God’s ready and willing to take over the controls of all your potential, placing it in his skillful hands so he can use it to fulfill his ultimate mission.

Lord, take over the controls of our lives as you fly to whatever missions you have for our lives, to the moon, and beyond all existing universes where we’ll ultimately land in your heavenly home.  Amen.

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