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Flying 101

March 27, 2012

On Friday 11th March is a day I will never forget. I did what the street lingo in Kenya would term as “roundi-mwenda”…. I air-crossed this beautiful country called Tanzania like my life depended on it. If you are one of my friends on facebook, you must have seen my status message which read something like this: “Woke up in Dar, had breakfast in Arusha, lunch at Kilimanjaro and mid-afternoon tea in Zanzibar…. I wonder where I’ll land next. Sigh!”

Well, I’m not really complaining because the whole concept of planes and flying really jazzes me; I guess its because when I was young I used to dream of being a pilot but obviously, my mom wouldn’t hear of it (and my grades in certain subjects sealed my fate). So all I do now is sit in those metallic birds and enjoy being whisked across the sky…..

It was while I was up there in the air heading to A-Town (Arusha) that I started thinking about the whole concept of flying, and particularly, I couldn’t help but wonder what really keeps that metallic bird up there in the air. By now am sure you are wondering whether this was my first time to fly; well, not at all. I have to admit that these thoughts were triggered by the fact that we had a female pilot; not that she was a rough pilot, actually, she is one of the best pilots I have ever had a chance of flying with. She managed to control the aircraft so well and that’s what got me thinking like a layman and had questions like kwani how light is this thing that even a woman can handle it so well? Anyway, the truth is that now that these thoughts/queries had settled in my mind, there was no way I was going to let this go without me finding out some truth about the whole flying mystery, which is what I want to share with you……

The image below will help you understand what I am about to explain:

The Four Forces

The Four Forces

For a plane to fly, it must always engage in a tug of war between the opposing forces of lift versus weight and thrust versus drag. For a moment, think of an airplane moving from right to left and the flow of air moving from left to right. The weight or force due to gravity pulls down on the plane opposing the lift created by air flowing over the wing. Thrust is generated by the propeller and opposes drag caused by air resistance to the airplane. During take off, thrust must be greater than drag and lift must be greater than weight so that the airplane can become airborne. For landing thrust must be less than drag, and lift must be less than weight…

The long and short of it is that a plane in flight is the center of a continuous tug of war between four forces: lift, gravity force or weight, thrust, and drag.

Besides the tug-of-war the plane is thrown into as it cuts through the sky, there is also the pot-holes in the air, correctly known as turbulence….In most cases, when a plane takes off we experience some turbulence, especially when the plane is cutting through the clouds to attain its designated cruise level. Sometimes though, even at cruise level it is still possible to hit some turbulence and in such cases, the pilot may decide to climb higher in order to avoid the pot-holes.

Just like a plane, a Christian is in continuous tug of war with different forces in their spiritual flight. Could be the forces of anger, pride, revenge, a non-forgiving heart, some bad habits that have stuck like a tick on a dog, arrogance, etc… However, if you were to let the pilot handle the spiritual flight for you, He will ensure you a safe take-off and smooth landing throughout your life, since He is qualified to do this. Similarly, He will ensure He takes you to areas where the turbulence is minimal or manageable. Speaking of turbulence though, why is it that when the plane is taking off and looking toward attaining its cruise level that’s when most turbulence is experienced? Can you picture a situation where as soon as the pilot hits turbulence (s)he decides to go back to the ground? Thinking of this now, and after reading about the Four forces a plane experiences when it is in motion, I think the plane would crash!!!

In the life of a Christian, there are many areas where we hit turbulence, but does this mean we should give up and go back to where we started? No! Absolutely not. When things are that tough, that’s when you are about to break-through that cloud that is causing this turbulence. Just like when a plane is about to take off, they say “put on your seatbelt we are going to encounter turbulence”; the same is true with our lives. There will be things that happen to us which are beyond our control but if we have our ‘spiritual seatbelt’s on we won’t get tossed so much. We will still have the courage to pursue our dreams and move on to the next realm because we know that our plane is in the safe hands of our Pilot Jesus Christ.

So, what flight are you on now? Whatever the destination, let go and let God.



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