Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

June 1, 2010

Running with the Big Dogs!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Ever hear the expression, Don’t get off the porch unless you are going to run with the big dogs?  The implication is  don’t  leave the porch to run with big dogs unless you know you can keep up.  There are many times that expression has come from my lips.

But perhaps the one that brought the most fear was the mixing of a small, single engine plane with the large, jet liners.  I remember feeling that in that small plane, we had no business flying with the big ones!

I had been given the opportunity to speak on a Sunday morning in central Florida at a strategic gathering.  It was a breakfast meeting and it would begin at 7 a.m.  I would have preaching responsibilities in my church at 11 a.m., but I knew that I could make the 40 mile trip round-trip without any problem.

However, several of the men in the church thought that would be too much of a stress for me, and they insisted that I fly over and back.  One of the men said  he would arrange for his private plane to take me.  I knew I would have logistical problems at the other end with transportation needed from the small airport to the church.  Again, I was assured that this would be no problem as several of the men would be driving over in support of my speaking.

I wondered why I should fly when I could simply ride along with these men.  As I thought on it, I did realize that perhaps flying would not be as stressful as the round trip in the car.  But you see, the driving time was really no longer than the flight time!  But I yielded and agreed.  After all, what preacher argues with deacons?

As I arrived at the small, private airport that Sunday morning, I met the pilot.  He was a congenial person, but he let me know that the noise from the plane would make it difficult to talk and there was no head-set for me.  We departed in this small, single engine plane.  The windows were down as it was a warm morning.  That increased the noise from the engines.

As we headed due west, I watched as we followed the causeway toward Tampa.  Flying at the low altitude, since this was not a pressurized cabin, I saw much of the familiar landscape from the air.  Then I looked straight ahead.  We were approaching Tampa International Airport.  I began to speak to myself.  “We can’t go straight across the airport!  Surely he is going around the south or north end!  Does he really know what he is doing?”

As we got closer to the airport, I could see large airliners coming in and taking off.  I could no longer keep quiet.  “Are we going across the middle of those runways?”

“Straight across,” he responded. 

“But . . . but . . .!”  I was stammering!  I knew we couldn’t do that.  Surely it is against the law!  We will be hit by those big planes!  And my mind just continued to roll out expressions of doubt and fear!  And remember, the flight was to help me avoid stress from the trip!

But we did fly across the runways at the low altitude.  I recall I was paraphrasing Psalm 23.  “Even though I fly across  the airport of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”  I recall he was trying to explain to me why he was flying across the airport, but I was looking for the big planes, praying, wondering who this fellow is at the controls, and a myriad of other thoughts.

I did come to understand, and he was a very skilled pilot.  It may not be allowed now that the airport has so many runways, but in those days, there was a corridor observed for these small aircrafts.  Those large jet liners would either be touching down or taking off beneath us.  We flew at that point where the other planes were only a few hundred feet off the runway.  The pilot truly knew what he was doing.  All my fears were for naught.  I should have trusted this pilot.

We obviously made the trip and landed at the small local airport, and I was met and driven to the church.  I was about ready to return with the men in the car after the service, but I knew now I could enjoy the flight back because I  had confidence in the pilot.  And I did enjoy the trip back . . . it was truly an enjoyable flight!

This was a good lesson for me.  In life, I am not the pilot.  My God is.  And with Him at the controls, I do not need to fear whatever the circumstances.  He may take me on a course that I consider dangerous or impractical.  But who am I to determine that?  He knows the best route to take.  I need not question, but I must  place my faith in Him.

“The Lord will guide you always.”  (Isaiah 58:11)  “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.”  (Psalm 48:14)  “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) 



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