I hate flying. I tell people that I hate flying because I hate to be confined to a small seat for so long.
That is a lie.
I hate flying because I am terrified of flying. Just don't tell, ok? Missionaries are not supposed to be terrified of flying. We do it all the time. It is supposed to be no big deal.
I'm afraid of it.
You'd never know if you see me in a plane. I never grip the handles, never look scared. That's because I'm afraid of embarrassing myself.
Even more afraid of that than flying.
I know I shouldn't be afraid of flying. I've done it so much. I've been taught how an airplane works. My dad flew, so he taught us. I know that it is so much safer than driving to the grocery store. I know all this.
But I am afraid.
I think part of it was reading a book with graphic detail about a particularly horrific airline disaster. Part of it is that I am simply terrified of heights. Planes fly pretty high up, you know. I also struggle with balance problems and easily get dizzy.
So they put me way up high in a tube that hums and messes up my ears and it turns, wiggles, bumps, and moves - throwing me way off balance. What's not to be afraid of?
Then today, I flew out of an airport where not too long ago, on a same flight that I had taken only weeks before, a big plane just suddenly fell from the sky, exploded, burned, and all were killed. The thought of falling paralyzes me with fear. My second biggest fear is burning alive. I joke about it often saying that if I burn to death, at least people can be assured that for once in my life I was FINALLY warm enough!
But I am afraid.
So we got up, high up, in the air this morning and hit turbulence right over where that plane went down. I smiled and relaxed - more afraid of looking stupid, but my insides tightened down. I'm good at hiding pain and fear. I resigned myself to a few hours of being frightened.
I know God. I do. I know Him. He called quietly to me. See, He's been working on my handicap - the trust issue. And I stopped, right there in that plane, and spoke aloud to myself in my mind, "Wait." and then "God, I am going to relax and put myself in Your hands and relax. You've got Your hands underneath me, and in You I am safe. Even if the plane falls from the sky, I'm in Your hands. You've held me all through my life - the good and the horrible both. I choose to rest in Your hands. I know You."
And I did. Relaxed. Reveled in the conscious presence of God, in His arms holding me.
Still afraid of flying. (please don't tell!) But not afraid of being in God's arms. I'm learning this trust issue step by step. I used to tell God I trusted Him, but only up to a point because He did let me get hurt and I didn't understand that. I'm learning to trust Him through the hurt now, not just up to the hurt.
I had a relaxed flight - both of them. Sure, I reminded God that He was holding me a few times, but I was relaxed. Sure, I still had to sit down in the walkway for a few minutes after the plane landed to regain my balance, but I trusted. I trusted! And I relaxed while trusting.
I know this might sound strange to you - especially when you think about that I am ok with trusting God for some pretty big things, like the recent traveling my husband did and other things, but that I cramp up in fear about flying. Ok, I am strange. I know that.
But I am learning to rest in His arms. He's been there, yes, even through the pain He's asked me to walk in. He's always been there.
I know His heart.