Most people have probably at least heard of the World War II movie, God Is My Co-Pilot, or the book on which it was based by the same name. More recently, you might have seen bumper stickers with the same expression. You might have even thought it sounded nice and very spiritual. At least until you actually think about it.
The story is told by Rev. Billy Graham of a little girl whose father was an airline pilot. As they crossed the Atlantic, a storm came up. The flight attendant awakened the little girl and told her to fasten her seatbelt because they were about to hit some turbulent weather. The little girl opened her eyes, saw the lightning flash around the plane, and asked, Is Daddy at the controls? The flight attendant replied, Yes, your father is in the cockpit at the controls. The little girl smiled, closed her eyes, and went back to sleep.
Psalm 48:14 says, For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death. God is always ready to be at the controls of our lives. He wants to be at those controls. But He gives us the freedom to pilot ourselves if we wish. The problem is that when we try to keep everything under control, we often crash and burn–the same way we would if we tried to pilot a plane we had not been trained to fly. Because of sin, our bodies, our brains, our senses–our very souls–are inadequate by themselves to deal with most of what life deals us.
Proverbs 19:21 says, Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Romans 8:28 reminds us, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. His purpose–not ours. We often forget that God made us. He knows us, how we work, and what is best for us. And while we may not always understand His purposes for our lives, He always understands them and never forgets them.
I remember taking driving lessons at age 15 1/2. The car we practiced in had two sets of controls–one for the student and an emergency set for the instructor. He was always ready, at the first sign of trouble, to take over. It was good to have that feeling of safety. However, once I got my license, there were no more dual controls. Everything about driving was now my responsibility–and mine alone. Too often, we treat our relationship with God the same way. I know that my tendency is to try to keep everything under control all by myself–until I can’t. Then I cry out to God to bail me out. One of the difficulties of being raised in New England is that many of us were taught from birth to stand on our own, pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, and take responsibility for our own actions. These are deeply ingrained characteristics. And they’re good qualities as long as we accept and allow God to go before us in everything we face and in everything we do. We need to be like the little girl, who in the midst of the storm, completely trusted her Dad to be in complete control of the situation. Because our Heavenly Father always has everything under control–especially when we do not.
So, what about you? Who or what is in control of your life? Are you still holding on to the controls, or have you allowed God to take control? If not, what are you waiting for?