The Airplane

by Andy Wood on February 24, 2015

in Ability, Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Eternity

Beautiful view of silhouette of airplane

(A Fable)

Aging and sad, a grand hulk of useless machinery sits in an airplane hangar when it probably should have been sold for scrap.  Designed by an Engineer as an elegant flying machine, this plane has never left the ground or even taxied the runway.  For reasons that still don’t make sense, when the time came to assemble all the parts, in the end the plane looked more assaulted than assembled.

To an untrained eye everything appeared to be in place.  There was a fuselage, wings, wheels, and engine shrouds.  But if you looked closer, you would see that the assemblers failed to actually install the engines.

The assemblers did other damage to the interior of the plane as it was being put together – so much, in fact, that the order was canceled and a new plane secured. Having royally failed inspection, the plane was unwanted and unneeded.  It would have cost more to fix what was broken than it would have simply to start over.  So for years, lost in the shadow of what could have been, the airplane sat, exposed to the elements, powerless, lifeless, and unwanted.

Word reached the Engineer of the plight of the flying machine. Moved by a sense of love for his designed creation and a conviction that airplanes were made to fly, the Engineer did the unthinkable.  At great cost to himself, he purchased the plane and set about to repair what the assemblers had broken or neglected.

First stop:  power.  The Engineer had new engines and a new fuel system installed to ensure that the plane would power down the runway and into the sky. His mechanics ensured that the elevator and ailerons worked properly, and that the landing gear could deploy successfully.  This plane was born to fly, and fly she would.

But who would dare enter into the cockpit of this aircraft and risk all to help a broken hunk of metal find its fulfilled purpose?  All the test pilots, brave as they were, were hardly stupid enough to risk their safety and lives to fly this plane. Moreover, they didn’t even know this design when all systems were “Go” – only the Engineer could enter the cockpit and test fly what had been broken.

The Flight

Once all the ground checks were complete and all known repairs made, the time came for the Engineer to fire up the engines and attempt a liftoff.  His support team of mechanics and flight control personnel were ready to test the plane in flight so that they could continue to redevelop the aircraft and perfect its restoration.

What a thrill it must have been as the wheels left the ground and the plane began to soar into the sky.  Yes, it was lumbering and loud, and the imperfections of the craft were evident to trained and novice eyes alike.  But she flew!  Great God, she flew for the first time!

Just as the Engineer was about to make his turn to prepare for landing he confronted an unforeseen problem.  The plane flew directly into a massive cloud bank and all visibility was lost.  Every flight on every plane requires some mid-course correction; planes are made for that.  But with no visibility, as the entire aircraft shuddered in the turbulent winds, the Engineer had to rely on instruments designed for such a scenario.

It was then he discovered that many of the instruments had been improperly installed. (Stick with me here… I know this wouldn’t happen in real life but this is a fable now, isn’t it?)

He couldn’t trust the altimeter to tell him how high he was off the ground.  His onboard radar was not working at all.  Even his compass had been installed with steel screws and was unreliable.  The Engineer was flying blind.  And as a pilot, he only had one alternative.  Notifying the air traffic controller, he alerted them to the situation. And fortunately, when he couldn’t depend on the plane’s equipment, he found he could lean on theirs as they guided him home.

A few minutes later, as the plane descended from the clouds and visibility was restored, the Engineer safely screeched the wheels onto the runway, and the maiden adventure was complete.

Maintenance personnel and mechanics then began the long process of restoring and reinstalling what the broken assemblers had first put in place.  Each time out the plane flew more safely, took off more powerfully, and flew more smoothly than the time before.  The process took time, trust, and a lot of patience.  It was an expensive labor of love, paid for completely by an Engineer who understood that planes were made to fly, but it takes a faithful and trustworthy team to put one together.

Okay Let’s Talk

Part of me just wants to stop here and let you do your own interpreting, trusting you to have enough sense, Bible knowledge, or whatever to get the point.

Sorry.  It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just don’t know that I’ve made it clear enough.  So here’s a swipe at what the fable means.

You are the plane.  You were designed as an elegant combination of science and art, a beautiful reflection of the beauty and image of your Creator.  But you were “assembled” by some pretty broken people – humans all.

Angry people.

Addicted people.

Abusive people.

Arrogant people.

Awkward people.

And those are just the descriptions that start with “A.”

In short order it was obvious to all that you were as broken as the people who helped put you together, and none of them could fix the mess you were.

So you were given up on.  Oh, people with good intentions may have tried to fix the mess that was you, but you were doomed to live a life of unfulfilled purpose… aging and sad, a giant hulk of useless humanity.

But just at the apex of your hopelessness, moved by a sense of love for His designed creation and your Engineer did the unthinkable.  At great cost to Himself, He purchased you with His blood, then set about to heal and restore what had been broken or neglected in you.

His first step: life. He Himself came to dwell in you.  Powerfully.  Eternally. And like the plane, those who experience the indwelling Spirit of our Creator begin to touch their purpose for the first time.

Great God, what joy!  What exhilaration to discover why we were born in the first place!  And though our first forays into the sky are anything but perfect, we are beautifully alive with purpose and power.

Sure, there are mid-course corrections and adjustments made – and we were made for those adjustments.  But inevitably we run into those days of darkness when all vision is lost. And in the dark times, the densely cloudy times, our “instruments” are tested.

And they’re often exposed as broken.

Your “instruments” may have been “installed” by an alcoholic or damaged by a bully or an abuser.  Your radar may have been destroyed by someone who deeply disappointed or badly neglected you.  You may find yourself, while wonderfully confident on cloudless days, completely baffled and lost in the dark times.  And it’s not always your fault.

It is during those times that your Creator and Redeemer has done a marvelous thing. In addition to His personal guidance and control, He has also assembled a team of “mechanics” and “ground control personnel” – people who stand ready to help fix the broken places…

People who will lend you their radar when yours no longer works.

People who will be your eyes and ears when you don’t have any vision or direction of your own.

People who can discern where your problem areas are and, with gentleness and clarity, can restore what the broken assemblers left behind.

Each step forward (despite a few steps back) you function more safely, serve more powerfully, and fly more smoothly than before.  The process – your process – takes time, trust, and a lot of patience.  It’s an expensive labor of love, paid for completely by an Engineer who understands that just as planes were made to fly, you were made to reflect His beauty, grace and power.

But just as it takes a faithful and trustworthy team to put a plane together, it takes quite a village for you to soar as you were designed to.  Regardless of what you may think, you were never made to fly solo, and the minute you start to try, you are setting yourself up for your own version of crash-and-burn.

You may look in the mirror and see a hunk of useless humanity. But your Creator and Designer sees so much more.  Come soar with Him.  Come embrace and enjoy what He sees when He looks at you.  Beyond the failures of the assemblers, embrace the person you are when He indwells you in love.

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