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Dealing with Spiritual Turbulence

Photo: M. Washington (Book: On the Third Day)
Photo: Meta Washington

For anyone who has ever traveled on a plane, out of all the things you might look forward to on a trip turbulence is probably the least among them. Turbulence is that rocky, unsettled feeling of impact and thrashing or dropping suddenly while still in the air. It’s a feeling that could make you queasy and one you never quite get used to. Depending on the intensity, it can literally scare you half to death. Some of you reading this right now who have experienced this might be having some emotional flashbacks. It’s not easy evoking memories about what could have happened during a choppy journey. Most of us opt for a smooth ride. For some people, their flying experiences were so bad that it has kept them from flying again at all. They would rather drive for 15 hours than take a plane ride for only two hours. But generally, these are worse case scenarios. Usually once aboard, if turbulence is detected on the pilot’s radar, the pilot will immediately give a series of commands both to the crew and passengers to assure their safety.

So what exactly does turbulence look like in our daily lives and how do we handle it when it comes? Is there a pilot onboard to instruct us and assure our safety? Do we receive a signal or receive instructions that help guide us to safety? Absolutely. Again, using our plane example, there might be an audible signal that warns of difficulties or circumstances may hit us unexpectedly throwing us completely off. The duration of instability isn’t always clear. Just like passengers aboard a plane, we oftentimes feel more comfortable when we have been prepped in advance. In other words, we take comfort in discomfort knowing when a situation is already under control.

This illustration of being on a plane is similar to how many people have navigated life since the pandemic began in 2020. Some believers handle crisis calmly. They hear the Word of God and receive the assure that comes with knowing God is in control. Then there are believers who know the Word, but anxiously thrash about the cabin without a grip. Turbulent times are not new to God’s people. The bible says that trouble that is eminent from the day we are born. (Job 14:1) reads “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

To say 2020 has been full of trouble is an understatement but nevertheless God was not surprised by our sudden turn of events. In fact, has He already provided instructions on how to stay safe and secure (Isaiah 26: 3–4, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Exodus 33:14, Deuteronomy 31:8, Deuteronomy 33:27 and Psalm 34:17) So, when we get knocked off of our block and feel uncertain, that’s the time when it is most valuable for us to look forward to hearing God’s voice. God is an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Take a look at the time of turbulence that was laid out in (Luke 21:5–19), it’s very reminiscent of our present time. The disciples had legitimate questions and concerns about things they were witnessing and how to reconcile their existence with the turbulence around them and Jesus gave very specific responses about what to expect and how to respond. There really isn’t anything new under the sun and fortunately our pilot is still in control.

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