“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
There is a malady that is common to both pilots and Christians. The slang for it is “get-there-itis”, and every year it causes hundreds – seriously, hundreds – of inexperienced aviators (not to mention unwitting passengers) to meet their demise because they fly into weather or other adversity they aren’t trained or experienced enough to handle. They simply don’t have the good judgment to wait for the winds to favor their journey. Famous or unknown, John Kennedy, Jr. or John Doe, no one is immune from the consequences of not having the wisdom to recognize “to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”.
Too often, when we emerge fresh from the presence of the Lord with revelation burning in our hearts, we are not so very different from the pilot whose license is burning a hole in his pocket. We’re ready to kick the tires and light the fires. After all, “faith is now”. Time is short. Life is speeding by. We’ve already spent too much time in the wilderness. Let’s get on with it. Lord, we’re burnin’ daylight here!
Maybe that’s one reason the writer of Hebrews exhorted us to follow those who “through faith and patience inherit the promises”. I can’t help thinking of Mary, who was blessed because she believed. What must it have been like that starry night in the stable with shepherds and kings and angels attending? With gifts beyond her wildest dreams laid at the feet of the child? What a glorious night, and true. But how different the days and years that followed. Thirty years of ordinary living in ordinary Nazareth. That’s a long time of doing other stuff that didn’t seem to have much to do with “those things which were told her from the Lord”.
To me, the most encouraging thing to remember during that inevitable interval between revelation and realization is that God’s promises – the visions we carry in our hearts as Mary carried the Christ – were His idea, not ours. We didn’t dream them up. They were told us from the Lord. That’s huge!
Truthfully, I don’t know why the Lord is so into declaring the end from the beginning. But He is. And even though such knowledge is often difficult for us to handle well, He places tremendous trust in us by telling us where He’s headed. He brings us on board with His plan in partnership. To borrow the corporate world’s vernacular, He empowers us to begin with the end in mind. The knowledge of His will can guide us through every decision as we make our way through everyday life – through just plain living in the grace of God – toward the purpose for which we were born, the purpose He has revealed in our hearts.
You know, I’ve been a pilot for as many years as I’ve been a Christian. Yet my flying has been in fits and starts: a dozen hours here, thirty there, separated by years on the ground. God forbid I exercised my faith as erratically as I have my flying. See, that’s what those years between revelation and realization are for: Practice, practice, practice. Learning the ropes. Learning my strong suits, and my weak. Learning to flight plan, to preflight, to take off, to navigate, to land. Safely. Learning when to set her down and let the storm pass. And learning when it’s okay to press on.
And if I just keep at it, faithfully and wisely, I have this assurance: I will reach my destination. This has been told me from the Lord.