Fear of Flying – and a Different Law

“My mouth was dry, and my heart racing, as the aircraft accelerated along the runway and rose shakily above the emerald ‘patchwork quilt.’ In recent years I had developed a phobia of flying, but today I had another reason to be afraid. “Well, here goes…” I turned to my daughter, who returned my nervous smile with a broad grin.  Squeezing my hand she reassured me. “It’ll be ok. Mum. Don’t worry about a thing. This is probably the safest time to go!” I closed my eyes in prayer for our safety in the journey ahead and for our loved ones back home. How on earth had I got myself into this situation? Here we were, sitting above the little fluffy white clouds, bound for a destination that only two days ago had come under intensive terrorist attacks. And there was no going back!”

The above is an extract from a story that I wrote some years ago after a trip to London directly after the bombings there. To be honest I am still not entirely happy about flying. That sensation as the plane accelerates faster and faster along the runaway may be exhilarating for some but it makes my heart thump incessantly! The fact that our destination was on high security alert after those terrorist attacks only served to exacerbate my worries over the trip; yet on reflection I think that my worst fears were of flying itself.

It wasn’t always like this. When I was younger, I had no fear of flying at all. Then many years later my husband, children and I were involved in a car accident, which involved flying through a hedge into a low-lying field where the car turned on its side. Thankfully no one was seriously injured but sometimes incidents like this; while they don’t leave us with physical injuries, certainly have their psychological effects. Although a car accident has little to do with flying, I still feel that my phobia had its roots in that incident. I remember that terrifying sensation so well; the strange silence, that feeling of being airborne and everything happening in slow motion. However, in recent years I have learned to leave this phobia with the Lord. He knows our phobias, our inhibitions and our insecurities so well and He is the Great Healer!

Well, this week I am about to embark on a journey which will involve four flights, but I go in the knowledge that the Saviour is with me, whatever happens. On a comforting note, planes may crash, but cars much more often – and there is a spiritual analogy in all of this too! The fact is that when we are away up there, we are no longer under the law of gravity – we are under a different law.” Surely too, as Christians, we are under a different law. Flying through the clouds, I experience the ‘law of aero-dynamics’ and when I walk with Jesus each day, I am no longer under the law of “sin and death” but I live by faith on the wings of His grace. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6v6&7). If He takes precedence in our lives, and we live by faith (in His strength) above the world and all its snares, ceasing to serve sin, then… “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom 6v14). 

Of course two laws or two masters cannot govern us at the one time. One must ultimately take control. “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”(Rom. 6v15-18) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8v1&2)

I never fail to thank the Lord for His protection, as after each journey the aircraft safely touches down in another country, or on my beloved island of Ireland. Yet surely the only safe place on earth is to be firmly within His will, for is anywhere safe, when we are outside His loving arms? But so long as we “take refuge in the shadow of His wings,” (Psalm 57v1), then the joyful words of Psalm 91 will be our portion forevermore: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Psalm 91v1-7) Praise God for His loving Presence with His children on life’s journey!

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