The Plane isn't Going Down--Facing Turbulence
Anxiety,  Encouragement

The Plane isn’t Going Down–the Problem of Turbulence

A few weeks ago my husband, a man in his fifties, was told his division at work was being shuttered. He had ten weeks of work left before he would be unemployed. This wasn’t expected, and for a few days we were stunned.

I admit my first response was fear. During our marriage he’s had a few long bouts of unemployment, and they aren’t fun. We put off buying things we want. Sometimes we put off buying things we need. We jerry-rig a lot. I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic, so I tap into patient assistance programs that allow me to survive with less cost. Jumping through those hoops is exhausting and dehumanizing.

But the worst is the waiting. Each interview comes with emotional highs and lows. What if we have to move? What might our new life in a new place look like? Emotionally I begin to pull away from the here and now with every interview, and then I have to stitch my real life back together when/if the job doesn’t come to pass.

Facing turbulence

God has always brought us through. We’ve never been homeless. We’ve never gone to bed hungry. I’ve always had the insulin I need. But oh, the journey of unemployment isn’t fun, and it isn’t easy.

It’s turbulence. That thought hit me the other day and stuck. Sure, for a moment I felt like the plane of our lives had its engines ripped out, and it was going down, but this isn’t true. Our income isn’t the engine. My husband’s job, my writing, our hobbies, our house or cars or status—none of that is the engine.

No, those things don’t keep our lives in the air. God does.

Yes, God is the engine, and he promises he won’t cut out and let us fall to our doom on the landscape below. Okay, maybe he doesn’t use those words, but he promises something similar. Check these out:

Deut. 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Matt. 6:31, 32: So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Yeah, that verse on worry is just for me, because those are the exact questions that come to mind. But Jesus says God’s aware of our needs. He assures us in these verses that God is in control and that what I think is important isn’t as important as I think.

I can fly in peace. I’m not the pilot.

Trouble is inevitable

Then he ends with this not-so-comforting thought in verse 34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Truth?  I want the verse to say I shouldn’t worry because everything is going to work out like I want it to. Lollipops, kittens, and sunshine all the time. But that isn’t what it says. It says trouble is expected.

Think about that. Trouble isn’t the sign of something going wrong. It’s the norm. In a world of sin where God hasn’t fully redeemed everything, trouble is part of the package. So when I get upset and scared about trouble, I’m proving that I haven’t read the story. I seem to have missed the fine print of this contract, which says This Is Normal.

Let’s call it turbulence. To me, that helps. The engine is intact. The plane is in the air and will remain in the air. Nothing can bring it down. Nothing. Paul assures me of this in Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing in creation can separate us. Nothing in the heavenly realm can separate us. The love of God is mine. Trouble is inevitable and should be seen as normal, but God is with me. Jesus is with me—he promises not to leave us as orphans, but through his Spirit he is here.

Remind me often…

Turbulence happens, and it can be a bumpy, difficult ride. We don’t have to like it. We can put on our seatbelts and put up our trays and wait it out wisely. When I’m faced with unemployment, I can cut spending and apply for help if I need it. If I’m sick, I can visit the doctor. Nothing says we have to let turbulence bounce us helplessly around the cabin.

But I need to keep in mind a few things, and I’ll leave us with these thoughts: Turbulence is normal and inevitable. I can fasten my seat belt. God is with me. His presence and love are the engine of my plane, and they are certain. Nothing, not anything, can take the engine from my plane and set me falling.

I’ll have to remind myself of these things more than once as we wait for God to take us through this bout of turbulence. But God is faithful regardless of my state of mind, and he wants to hold me close and grow me up and love me to the end of time and beyond.

He will never let me go.

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