Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Hooper Bay, Alaska. It's a little Eskimo village on the edge of the Bering Sea. And it was a place missionaries had repeatedly wanted our Native American outreach team, "On Eagles' Wings," to go. They all spoke of the unparalleled desperation there. Well, thank God, we were able to go and see an amazing response to the Gospel - although we almost didn't get there! The weather closed in as our small missionary plane made its landing approach. My wife was in that lead plane with several of our Native team leaders. The clouds were very low, the rain was falling, fog was all around. And our seasoned missionary pilot was making literally moment-by-moment judgments as to whether he needed to turn back. Now, hanging out over the Bering Sea, approaching that tiny runway, there was a lot of praying going on. But my wife, who knows enough about flying to read the critical instruments at least, said everything was lined up perfectly. Oh no, not according to their senses, not according to their stomachs, but according to the instruments. And moments later, sure enough, they were safe and sound on that runway! With a total instrument landing!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Instruments Don't Lie."
Now when your senses are no help...when your feelings are all over the place, the way not to crash is to totally trust the instruments. Not just in an airplane, but in the daily flight we call your life.
At a time when Joshua was facing great turbulence, God gave him - and us - our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Joshua 1:7-8. Joshua was taking command of the Jewish multitude as they stood on the edge of great transition, major battles, a flooded river to cross, fierce enemies. Stormy conditions - enough to make them crash. But God says, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
There's the secret of a happy landing in stormy conditions. Keep your eyes on the instruments - just keep on believing what the Word of God is telling you. In fact, this says that your mouth should be full of God's words, your mind should be full of God's words, and your life should be full of God's words.
Maybe for you right now, everything is spinning. It's a bumpy ride...you can't see through the fog...you don't know where you're going...all the reference points you might normally depend on aren't there for you. Your environment is up for grabs...your feelings - they're all over the place. But if you do what your feelings tell you to do, or your fellow passengers, or your environment, well, you'll crash.
But God is saying, "Keep your eyes on the instruments. My Word hasn't changed. My promise hasn't changed. Trust what I say...and only what I say." The more turbulent it is, the more you need to focus totally on what God says in His unchanging Word. It is the only guidance you can totally trust right now.
Your feelings will lie to you. Your circumstances are changeable. This is the time to stake everything on what God says. Hang on to those promises. Stick with His way of doing it. Take no detours from what God has told you to do.
Trust anything else, and you will crash. Trust the instruments - the Word of God that is totally unaffected by the storm - and you will land safe and secure.