Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Now the woman was a uGentile, va Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her,“Let the children be wfed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and xthrow it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's ycrumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may zgo your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 3
Mark 7:26-29 ESV

This is an awesome story.  There is so much there, so many lessons in so few words. Its Jesus, what do you expect?  Preach talked about this passage for a while Sunday and we discussed it for an hour at group last night, I don't think we got it all covered, but I'm left with this question:  How big do you think God is?

The woman in the story had a problem, a big problem.  The kind of problem that overshadows every part of your life. The kind of situation that has to seem impossible - a problem with no good solution.  Well, as it turns out,one really good solution.  This woman's daughter was demon possessed.  Not had an ear infection, had a demon.  She was living with the kid from The Exorcist.  I can't imagine how hopeless and desperate she must have been.  She had to desperate, she was risking a lot - breaking a lot of rules to get to Jesus.  The social implications of this passage are incredible, the way Jesus confronts stereotypes and racism is always fun.  Anyway, she should not have been there.  Can you imagine.  She gets to the feet of Jesus, she has to know her daughter is as good as healed.  She has risked much, but she there.  I can understand the excitement of knowing that from that moment on everything will be different, better.  Then the unthinkable happens, Jesus tells her no - or worse, to wait.  Either way the response had to be devastating.  I love her response. She pushes a little more, she makes an argument.  Jesus says its not time to heal your daughter, my ministry has an order.  He told her that healing her daughter would have to wait, that there were things he needed to do first, other people to feed.  I love how well she understood the heart and power of Jesus. I'll wait on the meal, for now I just need some crumbs. 

She knew how big he was.  Her daughter being possessed was certainly the biggest thing in her life, a problem in size that few of us will ever experience.  She knew that a few crumbs from the table of grace was enough to change her life forever.  Just the crumbs and her daughter, her family would be restored.  Just crumbs - nothing would ever be the same.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Kind of Afraid

Things have been getting progressively better in my spiritual life for a while now, but there has been something, just below the surface, bothering me.  A feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on.  I've felt uneasy.  The anger is mostly gone and I trust God now more than ever (I feel like I trust him completely, but there are a few things I'm having trouble letting go of so I'm not comfortable claiming complete trust at the moment).  Ok, so apparently I don't trust him completely.  That's what I'm going for though.  Maybe this uneasy feeling is why I'm having some difficulty going all in.  I think I know what it is now, I hope that helps me deal with it.

It's fear.  I'm afraid.  I use the word fear because I'm not familiar with a better word.  I love the English language, but times like these I find our practice of using the same word to mean a thousand different things incredibly frustrating.  Tonight I though about C.S. Lewis' book The Problem of Pain.  I know its weird since my problem isn't pain (at the moment), my problem is fear.  I'm not sure why I thought of it, in this text Lewis is only describing different kinds of fear as base for a larger discussion.  You should read the book, you should read all of his books.  So, there are several different emotions that we call fear.  I'm changing it, but basically Lewis breaks it down like this:  If I were to see a man with a gun walking towards my porch out of the woods right now, I would feel fear.  I would be afraid of death or physical harm.  If I were to see a ghost coming out of those same woods I would feel fear, only of a different kind.  One does not fear physical harm from a ghost, it is the difference between what I know and what I'm seeing that scares me.  I'm afraid of the ghost just because he his a ghost.  Lewis describes this as fear of the "Uncanny."  Now, if I looked up from my computer and instead of woods and darkness I saw an infinitely powerful spirit my fear would be something all together different.  Physical harm is not the fear, the unknown is not the fear, the fear here comes from my knowledge that I am all together unable to cope in this new reality.  I'm not sure it would be fear.  At least not one that is at all related to what we normally use that word to express.  Lewis describes it as a feeling of wonder and a certain shrinking.  I would feel inadequate - I would be in awe.  I say would be, I am.  Lewis uses a quote, from The Wind in the Willows, that I love (never read the book, I keep saying I'm going to).

"Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid?  Of Him?  O, never, never.  And yet - And yet- I am afraid"  

I'm no longer afraid of what God may do to me, but when I get near him its there.  Just beneath the freedom and peace and rest that He provides there is a kind of uneasy restlessness.  Its a perverted desire to do something.  I want to move, not necessarily away, just move.  I'm not sure why or what it is.  

Flying is peaceful for me.  In so many ways it mirrors my spiritual life.  Now that I'm thinking about it this feeling of uneasiness shows up when I fly from time to time.  I'm sure, now, that its in those times I feel it spiritually.  I like the perspective flying offers.  The world looks so far away.  I feel removed and small and free.  I'm comfortable flying partly because I know its safe.  However, I've noticed that just occasionally I turn into a button pusher.  I can be fidgety, and I always assumed that was it.  Every now and then I get into this thing where the whole flight I push buttons and turn nobs.  I check and recheck everything.  The plane I fly is pretty basic, you get the whole story from like 5 numbers and 4 lights.  95% of the time I set the autopilot and just relax for that portion between take off and landing (for the most part), however, on some flight I find myself constantly looking at the manifold pressure, RPM, oil pressure, and fuel burn over and over.  I usually chock it up to just being bored or fidgety.  The thing is, I'm not those things when I fly.  I'm perfectly content to just fly.  I think the restlessness in the airplane is just a physical manifestation of a restlessness in my spiritual life.  

That's a lot of words to basically say that the idea of being in God's presence, while wonderful, also frightens me a little. I'm not sure what to do with it. Any ideas?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good to see you again

I decided back in January that I wasn't going to be writing on here anymore.  I was pretty sure I'd run out of things to say.  I was probably wrong about that.  The thing is, the story isn't over.  I believe the extreme and easiest to write about portion of this journey is over, I'm not angry all the time anymore.  There is no struggle to know who I am and what I'm supposed to be doing.  I believe I'm through that, I'll never be able to tell you how much I appreciate you being there through it with me.  I think the mistake I made was thinking the day to day doesn't matter.  I feel confident in the direction, but the execution is difficult and my patience is often small.  I think in a million different ways every day God is showing me who he is and who I am in him.  These little things probably warrant sharing from time to time.  Plus it looks like I'm going to have some time on my hands.  So, my plan is to revisit this site, even if its briefly, whenever I'm in an airport is some far away exotic location.  Today I'm in Atlanta.  

Since I last posted a lot has changed.  I'm not working at The Home Depot, probably a big reason why I'm not just mad all the time (I'm really thankful for that place, it was a bridge. Necessary).  I'm instructing and flying contract for a retirement planning company. I'm looking for and will eventually really need something different, but its a descent place to be now and I'm building flight time faster than I ever have.   Honestly, If we could pay our bills on this I wouldn't mind hanging out in this place a while.  I'm flying, and people are paying me to do it, that's really living the dream.  I need to be able to make a career out of it.  House, cars, kids going to college, retirement, these are things I need aviation to eventually provide.  Right now I'd settle for a dinner at Sullivan's.  Anyway, I love what I'm doing and I'm happier in it than I've ever  been.   

The sum up from the last several years of searching is this: God is good, difficult to understand and infuriating in his timing, but ultimately very good.  I exist for the singular purpose of saying that as often and as loudly as possible, and my vehicle to carry that message is more often than not going to be an airplane.  

I love to fly, and I'm good at it.  Those things are gifts.  Not everyone knows what it is they really want to do, I do.  It stared me in the face most of my life and I never saw it.  God gave it to me on his time. It turns out a lot of people think aviation is cool and I get a lot of really positive comments on what I do, I love the attention.  I wish I didn't, its one of the things I battle against.  The other thing I get is people telling me how proud they are what I've done.  I appreciate that to.  Aviation is a lot of work.  I've studied and worked harder at this than anything I've ever done.  I've taken chances and a lot of people have made sacrifices to make this possible.  I don't intend to downplay what has been accomplished, its difficult and the number of people capable of it is small.  Its taken years too get here and I'm years from making a career of it.  Its difficult.  I had no choice.  When your in the kind of dark place I was in and God shows you something, anything, you grab a hold of it with all you have.  Not much was clear, flying was.  I was going to fly no matter what it cost me, short of my family, and I was sure God wouldn't call me to something that would require that. 

I took the picture at the top there on a flight to Richmond, VA.  I'm surprised it came out so good, I was pretty emotional when I took it.  I realized the other day that my iPad can be plugged into the airplane radio and played through my headset.  I was listening to Nickel Creek's When You Come Back Down.  I'm a little sensitive to music.  God uses it to get at me pretty often.  I've had moments flying that were powerful affirmations of God's plan for me.  None as powerful as that one.  God is so good.  His plans are best.  He is faithful.  What he wants for you is better than what you want.  What God has for you is worth whatever it costs you and better on his timing.  That moment, for me, was the difference between believing that to be true and knowing that it is.  God is amazing.  Consider this a standing ovation.