Saturday, February 10, 2018

Trust Your Instruments

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” The following true story illustrates this truth.

Col. Jeff Patton was an F-15 fighter pilot in the first Gulf War. On the first night of the war, his mission was to escort a large formation of fighters in bombing a chemical weapons plant in northern Iraq. The date for the attack was chosen because the absence of moonlight helped prevent the enemy defenses from detecting the Allied fighters. Flying in total darkness, the pilots were completely dependent on their instruments.

Shortly after crossing into Iraq, an Iraqi surface-to-air missile radar locked on to Jeff’s plane. He quickly maneuvered his aircraft and successfully broke the lock on his plane, but those radical movements in the dark gave him vertigo, which made him disoriented. He couldn’t tell which way was up or down.

His mind was telling him his plane was in a climbing right turn, but when he checked his instruments, they indicated he was in a 60-degree dive towards the ground! He felt certain that he was climbing instead of diving, and his mind was screaming at him to lower the nose of his F-15 to halt the climb. 

Now he had to make a decision—and his life depended on making the right one. Should he trust his own senses or his instruments? His mind told him to correct the plane by turning it downward, but his instruments instructed him to do just the opposite. Because he was flying in total darkness, he had to decide quickly. The wrong decision could mean death. 

He had been taught in flight training to trust his instruments in situations like this. He decided to ignore his senses and pull the aircraft out of its dive. He had made the right decision. If he had lowered the nose of his jet like his mind had been telling him, he would have crashed the plane. Trusting his instruments saved his life.

Immediately he looked at his altimeter, which told him the elevation of his aircraft. He had escaped colliding into the mountains by just 2,000 feet. If he had delayed just three more seconds in deciding, his plane would have crashed into the mountains. Even right decisions can be wrong ones if they’re made too late. (Slaying Your Giants, pp. 45-46)

Just like pilots are trained to trust their instruments, God wants us to trust Him. He will guide us through the “instruments” of his Word and His Spirit, even when logic tells us to do the opposite. If you’ll trust God with all your heart and not depend on your own understanding, you too will make right decisions. 

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