I believe it was Marshall Keeble who used to tell the story about a Southern air traffic controller.

It went something like this:

Atlanta Pilot: Houston, this is flight 115 coming in from Atlanta, requesting permission to land.

Houston: Yes, Sir. Flight 115, you’re clear to land going west there on runway 29.

Atlanta Pilot: Roger that.

L.A. Pilot: Houston, this is flight 97 coming in from L.A., requesting permission to land.

Houston: Yes, Sir. Flight 97, you’re clear to land going east there on runway 29.

L.A. Pilot: Houston, didn’t I hear you just tell flight 115 to land west on that same runway?

Houston: Hmmm; I guess I did, flight 97.


Houston: Hey! Ya’ll be careful now, hear!

Life is like that. We never know when we may be on a collision course with some unexpected event. Most of these instances can be avoided, but there are instances when we have no control over what occurs.

People react in all sorts of ways when the unexpected occurs. Some get angry, others confused, some fall into depression, and still, others may just ignore it and go on. So how should we react?

How should I face the brick walls that seem so great we can’t get over or around them? What do we do when we come to the edge of a river that seems too wide to cross? These walls and rivers may be financial problems; they may be a devastating illness; they may be a family crisis; they may be a death.

The first thing we must keep in mind is that we are never alone. Jesus promised, “I am with you always.”  We may feel abandoned at times. We may feel that God doesn’t care. We may feel alone. But as promised, God is always there beside us ready to comfort us and help us safely land if we will only let Him. It is difficult to trust in someone we cannot see or hear, but he’s there just the same.

In the movie “Spirit of St. Louis,” Jimmy Stewart is portraying Charles Lindbergh. As he struggles to land his plane in Paris, he becomes confused and disoriented. Fighting the lack of sleep, glaring lights, and fatigue, he finally blurts out in despair, “Oh Lord, help me.”

So, when we are in situations that seem to be impossible to overcome, we can call upon our Lord for strength and as Paul promised “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.

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