I have a friend who is both a pilot and a flight instructor. Being a trainer myself, I asked him about ways he helps people to remember things. He shared that two things he tries to teach pilots are to trust the instruments and also to go to the manual when there’s a problem. He said that many pilots have died because they trusted what they thought they saw instead of the instruments. They have special visors that block the pilots view of everything except the instruments to teach them to trust them. To teach them to go to the manual, he distracts them mid flight, then he shuts off the engines when their not looking. He lets them panic until they remember to go to the manual. Once they do that, they go through their checklist, find the problem and restart the engines. It’s a lesson they never forget.
Both of those are great lessons for us to remember as well. We can’t trust what we feel or even see with our eyes. Feelings lie to us and manipulate us. They’re there as warning signs, but if we constantly live by our feelings, we’ll have a miserable life. We live in an age where people believe truth is relative to the individual. What’s true for me may not be true for you. Living like that is like flying by what you see and not by the instruments. It’s dangerous. Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life. He is the absolute truth that we must use to guide our lives with beyond our feelings. He told us that we’re going to have trouble and face things that will cause us to want to lose faith, but He also said that He has overcome the world and will give us peace. We get that peace when we trust Him more than what we feel or see.
We’ve also been given an instruction manual in the Bible. It is also absolute truth. When the engines of our life shut off and we start to nose dive, go to the manual God gave us. I love how Philippians 4:8 starts. It says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true” (NLT). Don’t let fear dictate your thoughts and actions. Compare everything to what is true. If it’s not true, don’t give it space in your head. What God says is more true than your situational feelings. Fix your mind on God’s absolute truth and not on your feelings. Fix your mind on the truth of God’s Word and not what others tell you is true. This takes discipline, but it gives you peace when everything seems to be falling apart. Jesus has not abandoned you or forgotten you. He’s right there in the cockpit of life with you reminding you to trust His instruments and His Word to get you through.
One of the hardest things for any of us to do is to keep trusting in God’s Word while we wait for Him to answer us according to it. To keep believing when our circumstances don’t change or to keep holding on when things seem to get worse is what faith is. To me, it’s always been about perspective. Can I look through the mountain that’s right in front of me to see God, even though it is high and full of things I can see with my own eyes? Is my faith strong enough to believe what God says more than what doctors say? More than what my situation says? More than the facts say? To me, these are the hardest times to activate my faith, but they’re the times I need it the most.
Our examples of trusting God when circumstances say otherwise are some of the greatest heroes in the Bible. Joseph held onto the dream God gave him for 14 years, even while he sat in prison. David waited 15 years to be king, but he held onto God’s promise even while King Saul was chasing him and he was living in caves. Abraham held onto God’s promise of having a child for 25 years, but he held onto God’s promise even as he and Sarah became too old to have kids. Finally, Noah kept building the ark for more than a century without a drop of rain falling during that time.
These men were as human as you and I. They faced doubts, criticism and fear as they waited, but they trusted in God’s Word above all else. Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait eagerly for the Lord ‘s help, and in his word I trust” (GNT). I don’t know what your present situation is telling you right now, but I know you need to trust what God said more. Keep holding on to His Word and trust it no matter how long He takes, how dark your prison is or how real the facts seem. God’s truth is greater than man’s facts. He is not bound by our laws for He created them. If you’re struggling to keep believing, put more of God’s Word in you. Speak it out loud over and over until it saturates every part of you and you trust it more than anything.
If you’ve ever read through the books of Kings or Chronicles, then you know it’s the stories of the Kings of Israel. A lot of it is this king did what was right in God’s eyes or this king did not do what was right. One of the Kings who did what was right was Hezekiah. He cleaned out the Temple, purified it and began to have the people live God’s way again. A few verses later, an undefeated army started besieging towns, then turned their eyes to Jerusalem. Instead of panicking, he prepared for war and made things difficult for the opposing army. That’s when they sent a message to Hezekiah and Israel to try to win psychologically.
The message said things like, “Why would you have confidence when I’m the one attacking? Don’t you know I’m undefeated? Your king is lying to you giving you false hope. The gods of other nations couldn’t stop me, your God can’t either. Give up now. Why delay the inevitable?” Hezekiah countered to his people in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 by saying, “Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (GNT). God fought for Israel and sent that army home in shame.
I tell you that story because many times our enemy comes against us psychologically telling us we’re not good enough, God doesn’t love us, it’s easier to just quit, we will never find happiness, we’re all alone, etc. He tells us enough so that he can change how we feel about God and affect our behaviors, but those are lies. Greater is He that is in you. He can and will fight off our enemy when we call on Him and are determined to trust Him no matter what everything appears to look like. Put God’s Word in your mind. Know who you are in Christ and you will be able to win the victory.
The above picture was drawn by my friend Becky Woods. You can purchase prints of it here.