Saturday, January 5, 2013

I'm taking flight!

Consider:  to think carefully about; contemplate; reflect upon.  We all spend time "contemplating" certain things.  Some of us spend more time contemplating than others.  At times, we act only after very careful contemplation, but at others, we may find ourselves just jumping out there without any kind of consideration.  We probably know that doesn't work well.  We can neither spend all our time in contemplation, nor can we constantly just be jumping in with both feet without any real consideration of the consequences of our actions.  I think this is why God gave man the ability to "reason" - to reflect upon a matter and to some to conclusions.  Sometimes, no matter how much "contemplation" we do on a matter, it still just amazes us and catches us a little off-guard!

Three things amaze me, no, four things I’ll never understand—how an eagle flies so high in the sky, how a snake glides over a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, why adolescents act the way they do. (Proverbs 30:18-19 MSG)

I have been privileged to live in the country where eagles soar high on the currents - gliding effortlessly above the surface of the earth.  The activity looks so easy for them, but if you have ever tried to fly, you might just realize it is more difficult getting the ground than remaining in flight!  I imagine this was the case when the Wright brothers engaged in months of experiments trying to get themselves off the ground in some type of flying apparatus.  The evolution of the "flying machine" was probably nothing they dreamed of when they did their first flight.  It still amazes me to this day to feel the surge of the jet engines and the soaring effect of rising high into the clouds, gliding almost effortlessly across the expanses of sky in one of those huge jets.  

What I fail to understand in all that "thrust stuff" which gives the jet engine the capacity to lift off from the earth is the interaction between all the parts which aid the jet to be propelled into flight.  You see, as the jet fuel mixes with the air brought into the engine and it explodes within the chamber of the engine, an energy is produced which propels the huge turbine of the engine, driving the plane down the runway at higher and higher speeds.  At the right speed, the wings take on their purpose and the plane begins to lift.  Those who design aircraft will speak of "air pressure" - higher under the wing than above it - all because of the design of the wings.  

Someone gifted in the understanding of the difference between high and low pressure will tell you objects existing in the areas of high pressure will get lifted into the areas of low pressure.  This is the effect which gives the huge jet the ability to lift from the earth.  The "jet" is attempting to "equalize" pressure, so it lifts.  Then when we come to the altitude desired to "soar", the pilot coordinates the various speeds of the engines to maintain the "thrust" and ensure the "lift" still exists in order for the plane to stay in the air.

Now, this may not seem very significant as we consider this passage, but let me assure you, it has meaning.  Sometimes, when we stop long enough to consider - to contemplate - we begin to see the inter-relatedness of the various elements.  You see, God has a lot of pieces in play to accomplish his purposes in our lives.  There is the perfect amount of "combustion" which gives us energy for the task at hand - combining the elements which provide the "force" by which we will ultimately move.  Then, he sets the "wheels in motion" for us to begin to feel the "pressure changes" which will get us to the speed where our "wings" will begin to lift above the things which have us burdened down.

If this were not enough, he keeps us going until we feel as though we are soaring.  Now, don't lose sight of what I said about the plane.  The pilot has a whole lot of careful work to do to keep the plane's engines turning at the right speed, creating the right balance between high and low pressure in order to keep the "bird" in flight.  Too little, and the bird will stall.  Too much, and the bird may climb higher than it needs to, experiencing undue pressures on its body.  The balance is important in order to maintain "flight".  At some point, the bird returns to earth - not by stopping the engines, but by applying the right decrease in pressure to allow it to come safely to a place of rest again.  

Yep, we can consider the eagle in flight, the snake slithering effortlessly across even the toughest of surfaces, the ship navigating the depths of the seas, or the adventurous pull of the heart when a young man meets the right woman.  Today, I wanted us to consider the "effort" of flight - and the seemingly "effortlessness" of soaring.  You see, there really is a whole lot in play to accomplish the lift which gets us into "flight", but there is equally more occurring to keep the right balance to keep us there!  No "flight" occurs without pressure - it is in the pursuit of the equalizing of the pressure that the bird takes flight and learns to soar.  Rather than avoid the pressure, let us see the possibilities which exist when the "pressures" are realized with all the right "parts" in play!  Just sayin!

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