“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; Righteousness and peace kiss each other.” (Psalm 85:10)
I looked out the window as we were slingshot into the sky and watched the airport and houses and cars get smaller and smaller. I get a bit of trepidation when I think about flying, and usually for a little while think about what would happen if the plane decided to go down right then, when everything down below is matchbox size. Yikes! I also think about Louis C.K.’s joke that we should be full of wonder when we are flying – “We are sitting down in the air, people! Stop complaining!” The other day was no different. I prayed that God would help me to trust him and put away this bit of anxiety, and he did.
Flying is a lesson in trust. To some extent, we trust the people who make the planes, we trust the people who fly them, we trust the people who screen for terrorists at the airport, we trust the people around us not to be dangerous. But ultimately, we trust that God will keep us safe in the journey. And if he doesn’t for some reason – because bad things happen in this world – we trust that God will always be with us, because he will.
Trust leads to praise, and it did that day for me as well, especially as I saw the beauty of nature from the same window where I was being fearful. N.T. Wright says that when we praise we agree with all of nature, all of creation. And indeed, that makes sense, since we are part of God’s creation. We are wired for praise. I love this passage:
For you shall go out in joy And be led forth in peace; The mountains and the hills before you Shall break forth into singing, And all the trees of the field Shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
When we praise God, something changes on the inside. It’s like the Spirit cleans out the darkness of distrust and fear in our soul, and replaces it with righteousness and peace. Righteousness and peace were there all along (we get them as soon as the Spirit enters in – they go together like a kiss), but so often we leave them stowed in a dark corner. Praise makes our soul sing, and even maybe for a moment, the room is brilliant, full of good things.
I find that trust leads to praise, but praise also leads to trust, for we don’t have to go this journey alone. Don’t have the right attitude? Well, it’s not up to us in our own power to get the right attitude. We sometimes feel that as soon as we are Christians we need to think and “do the right things” and when we don’t, we are failures. This attitude leads to a life of drudgery. We forget the amazing Power within us – the power that fills us with love, peace, and empathy and helps us to be Difference Makers in the world. Only God can do that in us and through us. How are we so forgetful? Praise leads to trust, because if we surrender our fears and praise God no matter what happens, God will grow that trust within us. And he is full of grace for us as well. We are a “wondrous” work in progress.
As we flew down through the cloud cover into Juneau, where my wonderful daughter Alison and I were going to spend a few days with Mom/Grandma, I was full of wonder at the One who created such beauty. The glacier! The mountains! The blue and green water! The little green islands in the Gastineau Channel! The city itself is beautiful, nestled between Mount Roberts and Mount Juneau. I was so glad to be there, and so looking forward to spending a few days with my beautiful mom, who calls this majestic place home.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like yours … For you are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. (Psalm 86:8,10)
Kelly can be reached via email.