Trust Your Instrument Panel

Life can be full of struggles and up hill climbs. It often is. The circumstances that surround our everyday can be confusing, frustrating, and exhausting. And it’s easy to get distracted and pay more attention to our stormy circumstances than to the One who can calm the storm.

I love the story of Jesus walking on the water. (See Matthew 14: 22-36) He was fully aware of the storm and walked a “considerable” distance (The book of John says three or four miles) right through it to get to the people in the boat. Jesus knew that they were scared, frustrated, and tired. So, He came looking for them with the intention of calming the storm and getting them back to safety…all for the Father’s glory. When the disciples saw Him, they thought He was a ghost. Jesus told them to take courage and to not be afraid. Why? Because the Creator of the universe isn’t intimidated by the storms. He spoke the wind and water into being and He can calm them at His command. There is great peace in remembering that.

The next part with Peter, is perhaps, my most favorite part of the story. Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” I use to think that Peter said that out of his own doubt of who Jesus was. But now I am more inclined to believe that he was using discernment and making sure that it wasn’t some trick of the enemy. Jesus’ response…”Come”. Matthew 14:29 tells us that Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. As long as he kept his gaze fixed on the Lord, he navigated the storm and walked on the very waves that had previously petrified him. “But when he saw the wind” he became afraid and began to sink. Think about this…we cannot SEE the wind. We see the results of the wind. That’s what Peter saw. He saw high waves and felt the wind blowing fiercely against him. Just like the circumstances of our own storms. As Peter began to sink, Jesus reached out His hand to catch him and asked him why he doubted.

Why do WE doubt?

I can only answer that question through the lens of my own experiences. I’ve witnessed God’s miraculous provisions and love in countless ways throughout my life. I’ve seen His fingerprints all over my marriage and in the creation and raising of our children. The miraculous fills my spirit and grows my faith. So do the storms.

There was a time in our journey of raising our sons that my husband and I were navigating through an extremely painful and difficult journey with one of them. I questioned my own abilities as a parent and could not figure out why we had to go through what we were going through. The enemy moved in and pummeled us with waves of self-doubt and feelings of failure. The storm…complete with dark clouds, fierce winds, and very high waves that rocked our boat to the point where I thought we would not survive. The panic, anxiety, and fear that lived within my spirit kept me up at night and robbed me of oxygen during the day. Even though we prayerfully sought the Lord together, I kept looking at the storm conditions. And then my husband shared an analogy with me that changed my life and forever changed the lens through which I look at the storms.

Bob is a small aircraft pilot. He described an experience he was required to complete in order to earn his license. On one particular flight, he piloted the plane with his instructor next to him. There was just one minor change. Bob had to wear a special eye mask that only allowed him to see the instrument panel of the plane and nothing outside the windows of the cockpit. The purpose of this exercise is to train the pilot to trust the instrument panel for navigation in the event conditions outside the plane deteriorate and prevent visual navigation. Bob explained that the instrument panel will always show you the true attitude (position) of the airplane. If a pilot relies on the conditions outside of the plane, he can become disoriented and the plane can actually be flying upside down when it feels like it’s right side up. Or even worse – you can feel like you’re flying level when you’re torpedoing toward the Earth. After explaining this whole experience, my husband spoke tremendous words of wisdom into my being. He said, “Debbie, the Lord is our instrument panel. Keep your eyes focused on Him – not what’s going on outside our plane right now.”

Those words changed everything for me. The storms are still scary and exhausting. But now, I focus on Christ – the ultimate instrument panel. He helps me filter out the circumstances whirling around me and the wind battering my sails and bids me to “Come” and walk with Him. “It is I; don’t be afraid.” (John 6:20)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Who is your instrument panel?

If it’s anyone or anything other than Christ, I can assure you – you will be overcome by the storm clouds and the waves. You will lose your way and have an “attitude” that will not allow you to thrive.  Your storm is not too big for God. Focus on Him. Trust Him. He will steer you through the storm and calm the waves.

The storm with our son? Amazing grace.
Only God could have written the rest of THAT story.
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