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  • Writer's pictureKeith Carpenter

Flying Through Thunderheads

"May get a little bumpy"

Back in early 2003, I was flying on an American Airlines 737 en route to Caracas, Venezuela to meet my lovely Bride-to-be. As we were descending towards Venezuela in this amazing flying silver tube in the sky, I noticed flashes of lightning. Now that, is never a comforting sight when flying. So, I nervously reach down and tighten my seat belt. As we rocketed across the Caribbean at over 500 miles an hour, it seems these towering clouds were in our way and too large to go around. The Captain came on and told everyone to get back to our seats and to buckle up because it "may get a little bumpy". Now, we all know when an Airliner Captain says it may get bumpy is akin to a Dentist saying that you may 'feel a little pressure".

As we entered the clouds, the 737 was tossed around and flashes of lightening were all around. I was expecting to see a Gremlin on the wing, but alas I couldn't see through the weather. A couple of violent drops from updrafts would suddenly drop the 737 hundreds of feet in a matter of seconds. I noticed the girl behind me kept yelling, "weee!" every time, having the time of her life. Venezuelans are known for being very happy and easy going folks but this little girl took the cake. The mother, though Venezuelan, looked pale and as I looked over my shoulder after one of those sudden drops and violent shakes, I could see the girl laughing with hands up like a roller coaster and the mother with a barf bag in one hand, doing Rosaries with the other. I clearly felt more in common with Mom than this fun-loving girl.

As I was there catching up on my prayer life amidst this descent, Matthew 18:3-4 came to my mind vividly and instantly: "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" This girl trusted and had solid faith. She had faith in the plane to weather the turbulence, in her Mom who told her she was going to Caracas, and in the pilot. Since she had faith as Jesus described, she not only was living in that moment more Biblically than me, but she was having a rip roaring time! I never forgot that girl, nor that storm and her Rosary-praying mother. The Mom and myself were not having fun sweating out each shake and drop of that jet because we feared what we could not control and didn't trust the plane which was designed to go through that type thing all day long, the pilot who probably was former military and had flown hundreds of flights, but worst of all didn't trust the Lord Jesus. When we don't trust, we have no fun because as control freaks, we worry and fret.

2020 has given us much to worry about and fret about and 2021 looks like a cousin to it. I spent more of 2020 like I did on that flight than like the little girl. We should not find it strange we find ourselves in a fiery trial, Peter admonishes us in 1 Peter 4. So, here were all are in various trials. May we become be as our Lord admonished, as little children and exhibit that faith of a child through the storms and trials to please God, to bring glory to Jesus so much that the World will take note and seek to understand why we tick the way we do because we caste all our anxiety on Him, knowing that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

May God bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and grant you peace.


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