In my 11th hour of flight training after a couple of touch and go landings, my instructor told me to taxi to the flight center. He got out and turned back to me. “Make a couple of those on your own, then come back and we’ll talk.”
You long for this day yet the butterflies quit flying in formation in my stomach. I got to the end of the runway, looked a bit apprehensively at the empty seat beside me and pushed the throttle all the way forward. I was airborne long before we would have been with two of us aboard and reached 1500’ of altitude almost before I had flown the length of the runway.
This was indeed heady stuff. I was ‘pilot in command’ and would never see the earth below me the same.
But in days to come I had two experiences that made me thankful to have my instructor back beside me. The first was a mechanical control malfunction. The little Cessna began to climb and I hadn’t asked it to! Then the nose fell. I immediately felt another set of hands on the control and heard my mentor say, “I’ve got it.”
The second episode happened a few weeks later as we were several thousand feet above the desert floor. It was a windy day and keeping the airplane straight and level was a constant battle. Suddenly and without prior warning the wind shifted 180 degrees as we transitioned a ‘wind shift.’ This weather needed to be navigated by someone with a bit more experience than I had. Again I heard the voice of my instructor say, “I’ve got it!”
Looking back gives me pause to reflect on a spiritual truth.
There have been more than a couple of times in my life where the bottom suddenly dropped out. The totally unexpected happened in a way I was not prepared for. The news was terrifying … the diagnosis staggering … the immediate future in jeopardy. But then another set of hands on the controls and a quiet “I’ve got this.”
Other times the winds blew powerfully and from several directions at once. The nose of my frail craft was buffeted dangerously off course. This kind of storm was way above my skills and training. “I’ve got it” I heard, and again I was in safe and steady hands.
I’ve decided that I really don’t want to fly alone through all the circumstances of life.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 Amplified Bible
“Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with my righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].”
Isaiah 41:10 Amplified Bible