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For some unspecified reason, my mind has recently been thinking a lot about things aeronautical. Those people who know me and are familiar with my background will be aware of my love of flying (now past tense, unfortunately - i.e. the flying, not the love of it!) and how closely I have followed our second son's flying career in the Royal Australian Air Force.


In a recent article on this website, I made reference to one of two key instruments on the panel of the little Cessna 152 in which I learned to fly. That was the "Attitude Indicator" The other was the "Turn and Bank Indicator". There are a lot of 'parables' in the process of learning to fly. Here's another one.


On one occasion, my instructor used an unusual but effective method to teach me a key lesson. At the time he was flying the aircraft and he had it banked to the left. He then told me to close my eyes and to focus on my physical feelings. He wanted me to feel the forces that made me realize that the aircraft was turning to the left. Then he said this: "I want you concentrate on those feelings and tell me when you feel the plane is no longer turning but is now flying straight and level".


With my eyes still closed, I concentrated and, sure enough, I could feel the plane level out and I said, "Now!" My instructor told me to open my eyes and, to my complete surprise, we were still banked to the left but even more so! What was he trying to teach me?


"Always trust your instruments, not your feelings".


In our Christian life and journey, feelings can play a significant role. This need not be a bad thing in itself. But if those feelings are allowed to become the determining factor in what we believe and how we act or react, we will soon find ourselves in big trouble.


We all need "points of reference" outside of ourselves - reference points that are unchangeable and unchanging. These are objective fixed navigational aids rather than subjective, variable reference points. For the pilot these fixed points are vital - especially when the aircraft is in or above the clouds. That's when trusting the instruments is absolutely critical.


No matter what he/she may feel, the pilot must depend upon the accuracy and trustworthiness of the instruments. The objective, unchanging points of reference that immediately come to mind for the Christian journey are the promises of God's Word. The commands and directives of Scripture are another.


Human opinion that rejects the authority of God's Word and seeks to navigate through life's dark times guided by nothing more than shallow, changeable feelings must crash, burn, die - sooner or later.


The Christian life is anything but cloudless, blue skies - perfect flying weather! The journey will involve times of turbulence, blinding cloud and the like. Of course, the journey will also have times of scenery & grandeur that will take our breath away.


Just remember, when you can't see the way ahead, trust your instruments, not your feelings!

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