“Vigilance is the order of the day.”
Back in the 1980s my friend, Jimmy Townsend, worked for the airport. He was among the sea of workers responsible for assisting travelers into the friendly skies. He wasn’t a pilot, but he was, admittedly, closer to the cockpit than the baggage claim. One ‘Fun fact’ he enjoyed sharing with me was something that half of me dismissed as a joke, and the other half of me hoped was an urban legend. He said, “Do you know all those red lights that surround the pilots that come on when something is wrong…? Well, you would be surprised at how many of them can stay on before they do something about them all.” My visions of pilots and engineers chatting over the significance of this-light-or-that, while eating my Chicken tikka masala with steamed jasmine rice and peas at 30,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, was somewhat disconcerting.
I thought of those condemned prisoners eating their last meal—with an albeit broader menu. I have since used Jimmy’s ‘Panel lights’ as a metaphor for faith-vigilance. The lights representing our various activities and relationships. It is expected that ‘lights’ will blink on and off as we problem solve our way through the day, and that God has blessed us with wisdom and guidance to monitor those trouble-signals. Family, of course, is going to have its own section lite up (teenagers indefinitely), work adds a few, depending on what day it is, church challenges, friendship woes, and even the affairs of the heart – with even brighter lights…(or otherwise?). All of this, and a myriad of other things, happening is the context of our daily walk in Christ.
Do not be deceived, being a Christian does not insulate you from overload. Problems, left to accumulate, will cause your faith to crash. The aviation industry has spent countless hours adjusting their aircraft to the environments in which they fly. And adjust we must, to the spiritual environments in which we journey. Crashing is not an option, so all aspects of our spiritual travel must also be carefully considered. Scripture is our problem solving database, prayer is our communication system for divine help, and heaven our welcome destination. Deal to those lights. Vigilance is the order of the day!