Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Love Divine All Loves Excelling"1 (Lyrics)
When I took the course for a private pilot's license many years ago, I remember our instructor warning us to be very careful about pushing it in poor weather. Because we were not trained to fly on instruments only, we needed decent visibility when flying. Our instructor also reminded us that if we ever found ourselves surprised by bad weather or zero visibility, we had to trust our instruments, and not panic — just keep our eyes fixed on our instruments and believe what they were telling us, no matter what, because our bodily sensations would try to tell us something different in those situations.
Now this sounds straightforward and easy enough until the time comes when one actually has to do it. I remember flying in to land at the little airstrip in a neighbouring town, and during my approach on this occasion, some thick fog blew in and totally obscured my visibility. Fortunately, it didn't last too long, because I almost immediately began to experience some very uncomfortable and then scary spatial disorientation. This is the kind of vertigo that has been identified as the direct contributing cause of many accidents. It happens because your vision is cut off from the earth, horizon, or any other fixed reference at the same time as your body is exposed to certain angular and centrifugal forces which you simply cannot distinguish from gravitational forces.
I began feeling more and more certain that I was steeply climbing, and it was like my body was screaming at me to level out by pushing the wheel forward. Of course, actually doing that would have resulted in crashing nose-first into the ground. That result would have come from taking matters into my own hands and not keeping my eyes fixed on my instruments and really trusting them.
This reminds me of our absolute need to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1b-2a – Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (NIV 2011)
No matter how we're feeling or what the circumstances, He is our fixed reference point, our horizon, our "sun of righteousness". We need to remember this, no matter how tempted we are to take our eyes off Him by not bothering with prayer, not bothering with worship, not bothering with His Word.
2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight. (NKJV)
In this context, "sight" must somehow include the feelings and emotions that can so strongly urge us in certain situations to take our eyes off the only things that can help us. Praise God for His love and commitment to us through it all, to complete the good work He has begun in us!
Prayer: Lord, our hearts are so prone to wandering. Please keep our eyes fixed on You and our hearts fettered to Yours. May Your strength be made perfect in our weakness. Amen.