Encouragement: From 30,000 Feet!

Encouragement: From 30,000 Feet!

Need a word of encouragement? We all do. Some days it seems more necessary than others. As I was returning home from last week’s preaching engagement in New Mexico, encouragement came in a most unexpected way!

Paths of Encouragement

I call the regional service jets Ken & Barbie planes. They carry about 50 passengers. The seating arrangement is 3 seats in each row. And rows are divided with one seat on one side of the aisle and two on the other. I was in the one seat which meant I had an aisle seat which was also a window seat. The sky was mostly clear. And most of what I could see below was familiar.
EncouragementI grew up in the DFW area of Texas. So we made many trips to west Texas to see grandparents and other family. When I accepted the call to serve a church in Huntsville, AL, we moved our family from the DFW area to Alabama. For the past 24 years we have been making the drive from north Alabama to the DFW area to visit family. All that means I knew the roads I could see below. I’ve driven many, many hours on those roads.
Many things were visible from my window. I could see bends in the roads that were so long they wouldn’t be noticed if you were driving on them. And from my vantage point, I could often see features of the landscape that probably caused the builders to put the road where it is. I could never see that from my car.

Encouragement: His Paths

Our lives are like that. God sees what we cannot see. Our vantage point is limited. And it is from that limited perspective we feel constantly compelled to ask, Why? But our great need is to trust! We know this from many Scriptures. So I’ll just use this one to illustrate:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!

The sense of encouragement I had on that Ken & Barbie plane brought a great sense of peace. God is not a man that He should lie. And God is good. What He does is always done in light of two things He brings together in perfect harmony: His glory and my good. Do I always understand? No. But that doesn’t change Who He is or how He does things.

Patchwork of Encouragement

I could also see the fields, rivers, orchards, and hills. If you have flown, you have seen similar sights. One Encouragementmight not describe all of those individual things as beautiful. From my window, it unfolded like a tapestry. It was all woven into a beautiful display. Our lives are like that, too.
As a minister, I have served in different places for various lengths of time. Because I am imperfect, there have been ups and downs in life as well as ministry. As I went though those times, good or bad, I could only see the thing in front of me. But here is what we know:

God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according His purpose.

To Him, our lives are like the panorama that unfolded beneath our plane. Each indidual episode of life may not be beautiful by itself, but He brings it all together for our good and His glory.
The next time you have an opportunity to fly, sit by the window. As you do, watch what unfolds beneath you. Know your Fathers sees your life like you see that landscape. I think you will find a good bit of encouragement in that!

Soli Deo Gloria! 


Keith Burnett | keithburnett.org