August 28, 2020
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It was one of those rock-and-roll airplane flights. And we're not talking music here. No, those are exciting, especially if you're a flight attendant. Especially if you're in the aisle trying to serve passengers something; which they don't much of any more. And that's where we were when our flight hit a stretch of serious turbulence. The captain made sure all of us passengers had our seat belts securely fastened, and he wanted to make sure that we all knew where the "motion discomfort" bag was (I'm only kidding). It looked like dinner was about to be called off as the flight attendants rock-and-rolled in the aisle. Then the captain came on with a hopeful announcement, "I'm trying to go to a higher altitude, folks, and see if we can find some smoother air up there." (I thought that was a great idea.) Well, it worked! In a couple of minutes we were cruising along so smoothly and we were eating our dinner instead of wearing our dinner! That was good.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Smoother Air Higher Up."
Turbulence. Maybe that word describes what's happening on your flight right now. You need to hear your Pilot's announcement about how to handle it. It's in our word for today from the Word of God, Philippians 4:6-7.
"Do not be anxious about anything" it says. That would be the turbulent times; times when you're anxious, you're worried, you're stressed. And your circumstances and your feelings are giving you a very bumpy ride. Here's the way to respond. "But in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Get out of the altitude where you've been living and take all that trouble you've got to a higher altitude - take it to the "God Zone."
The result? The same as when our pilot took us higher - smoother air. It says, "And the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." What a trade - anxiety for peace, turbulence for smooth air.
When you try to deal with your problems and your pressures at your altitude, you get knocked around. From where you are, this thing looks huge. But that's because you're comparing the size of the problem to the size of what you can do about it. Peace begins when you decide to compare the size of your problem to the size of your God. You have no control over whether you get hit with that turbulence, but you decide what altitude you're going to fly at.
When you "present your requests to God"; that's what the verse says, when you release the situation from your hands and totally entrust it to God's hands, you've gone above the problem to the higher altitude of the God Zone; to that calm place where you realize that your God is totally in control. In the words of the Bible, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10).
Those two words "with thanksgiving" are important. It's consciously reflecting on a list of real things you can thank God for. That's what elevates you higher and to smoother air. Thanking God, praising God - before you ask for anything. See, that takes you out of the turbulence of the Worry Zone into the peace of the God Zone.
I was reading about Oswald Chambers, the author of that classic devotional book, "My Utmost for His Highest." Those who were around him a lot said he had a favorite sentence that they heard often. He said, "I refuse to worry." That's a great life discipline. Worry paralyzes you emotionally, it solves nothing, and it insults the God who is pledged to take care of you. So when the turbulence hits, refuse to worry.
Instead, let your Pilot lift you out of the bumpy ride of dealing with it from your level. He'll take you right to where He is, where you can ride above the turbulence. Here's the good news; there's smoother air higher up!