Tuesday, October 30, 2018
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When our friends heard that our family had been invited to Alaska for a week of ministry, they were all excited for us. They said, "Oh, it's beautiful, you're going to love it! When are you going?" "February." "Oh." See, I get invited to places like Florida and Arizona in the summer, and Alaska in the dead of winter. We had a wonderful week, but the time came for my wife and kids to fly home because they had to get back to school, and I stayed for several more days of ministry. We were out on the Kenai Peninsula, in an area that felt fairly remote. We arrived at this small airport one night to rendezvous with our pilot. Dick was a missionary pilot, trained by Moody Bible Institute's top-flight pilot's school and he was experienced in flying into many remote areas of Alaska. But that night his cargo was the people I love most. My first cause for a little worry was his request to help him push the plane out of the hangar and onto the runway. That was new! Yeah, and it was icy. I had never pushed my plane into position before. I didn't like that runway. It was covered with thick, deeply-rutted ice from one end to the other. And at the end of this fairly short runway was a big stand of trees you could run into. Oh yeah, and it was heavily overcast-no moon, no stars. Well, I helped my wife and three children crowd into Dick's little Cessna, I waved good-bye as they started bouncing and maneuvering down that icy runway. I really didn't like the conditions, but I was okay because I really trusted the pilot.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Trusting the Pilot."
That night in Alaska I had to let go of people who meant an awful lot to me. They were out of my hands, and I had to trust them to the care of someone who could take them where I never could; someone who was totally trustworthy, even though he was carrying them into the unknown-unknown for me and for them but not for the pilot. He flew skillfully that night and he delivered my family safely to their destination.
Paul wrote about that kind of trust choice in 2 Timothy 1:12, and it is our word for today from the Word of God. Paul was a prisoner of Nero in a Roman prison and he knows he will probably not come out of this one alive. Everything that matters to him is out of his hands; the people he loves, his life's work, his own future. Maybe some of that sounds strangely familiar. It's out of your hands now, like my family disappearing into that Alaskan night in a little airplane. Here are Paul's words, "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." In other words, "I've released it all into Jesus' hands. I'm trusting Him to care for it all. He's certainly able to guard what I love." Or, in the context of my Alaskan farewell to my loved ones, "I can trust the Pilot."
Right now you may be at one of those "letting go" crossroads. But you're having a hard time putting what you care so much about on the plane. You're worrying a lot, you're holding onto what you should be releasing. You're making the mistake of looking at the conditions instead of focusing on the Pilot-Jesus, who has never crashed, never lost anything that was entrusted to Him.
That night in Alaska, I could have said, "Wait! I think I'll fly the plane!" That would have been dumb! But that's what we often do at a "letting go" crossroads. We try to fly the plane, we scheme, we push, we panic, we control, or we worry ourselves sick. And because we won't release something or someone we care about, we interfere with where the Lord wants to take them-where you could never take them.
The circumstances may look uncertain...unsettling. But the engines are running. It's flight time and you either have to hold on tighter or let go. The whole situation boils down to a decisive question, "Can Jesus be trusted?" His cross answers that. His track record answers that. Today, let it go, let her go, let him go. They're in much better hands with the Pilot in charge than they could ever be with you in charge. This Pilot - oh, He will keep them safe!