In three days, my PhD student fiancé is going to fly to the other side of the world for an academic conference. He’ll ride in an airplane over the Pacific Ocean.
I recently flew to visit friends — a three-hour total flight, maybe, with plenty of airports below for emergency landings — but I’ve never been out of the country, over the ocean. On the way home, I sat in the back in front of the engines and looked out my window at the wing, and thought how thin a wall separated me from the air outside, and how many things had to keep going right to keep the plane in the air. And I thought of that flight over the Pacific, and prayed for it.
Statistically, all the things that have to keep going right to keep airliners flying DO keep going right — the chances of any one person being in a fatal air accident are something like 1 in 4.7 billion. (Much better chances than driving.) Odds are, if you fly, you’ll be perfectly safe.
But even so, to fly — or to walk or to drive or to sit in a house — is an act of faith: faith that the laws of physics are going to continue unchanged, and that all the details of design and construction, maintenance and pilots, passengers and weather patterns will align into safety.
And if I had to worry about all that — about each bolt and each pilot and each cloud — I’d go insane. But I hang my faith higher than all that, on Him who upholds all things by the word of His power: the God who keeps solar systems in galaxies can carry airliners over oceans.
My man can fly to the other side of the world, but he’ll never set one foot outside the palm of the same hand that’s upholding me. Our God is big, and we are small. For that, I am glad.
©2015 by Stacy Nott