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Matthew Bauer

Matthew's Blog

You are here:  blog  >  December 2010  >  Landing a 747

Landing a 747

airplaneI’ve had a couple of really emotional dreams lately, which is most unusual for me.  The latest one happened just a few weeks ago, when I was on a small plane from Detroit to Buffalo.  It was a short flight, and I don’t normally sleep on planes, but this time I fell asleep and dreamt that I was… get this… on another plane.

In my dream, I was flying from New York to Los Angeles on a big 747 jumbo jet.  Somewhere over the Midwest, a man stands up and takes over the plane, quickly breaking into the cockpit and killing both pilots on board.  In my dream, it was a bit more graphic than I’ll choose to describe here, lest some of you visual people get mad at me for putting gruesome pictures in your head.

When it became apparent that no one was going to do anything about this, I called the flight attendant and asked them to find someone on the flight who could land our plane.  I was going to go take back the cockpit.

I got up, went to the front of the plane, came up behind the terrorist in the cockpit and killed him with a ball-point pen to the throat.  Again, it was very gruesome, messy, and quite real and traumatic for me in the dream.  Imagine what you will, but don’t blame me for the places your mind may go.  I have to give you at least some detail, so you can get a picture for how troubling this dream was.

Anyway, there was not one person on the plane with any flight experience, and I was left to land this 370-ton jet on my own.  With absolutely no experience, and having never even landed a plan successfully in my computer flight simulator program, I was terrified.  All I could see was the 400+ people on board and all of their families and businesses and loved ones who were depending on me to land that plane safely.  It was more pressure than I was prepared to handle.

I immediately got on the radio and called for help.  I only had a couple hours of fuel left to learn how to land a plane, and I’m cramped in a cockpit with hundreds of controls that I’ve never seen before, and three dead bodies.

We got clearance to land at a military base in the desert of New Mexico, where I would be least likely to hit a building or busy freeway or airport terminal if I crashed, and the voices on the other side of the radio guided me in.  But as we were coming toward the landing strip, I could barely see the controls, let alone anything out the windshield (is that what you call it on a 747?).  Tears were streaming down my face, nearly blinding myself because of the pressure of the situation.  Every life, every family, every future in and related to the people on that plane were relying on me to safely land this jet.  It was an impossible situation.

It certainly wasn’t the best landing I’ve ever experienced, but we did get down safely in the midst of it, and as I stepped out of the cockpit, I watched each face walking past me as the passengers exited the plane.  Tears were still streaming down my face, and I began to have a complete nervous breakdown.  I froze, and for the rest of the dream, I was completely unresponsive, paralyzed by the fear and stress of the entire situation.

I woke up just as my own flight was landing, still in the panicked state of my dream, and found myself in tears even as our experienced and well-trained pilots were touching us down in our little CRJ200 jet.  I was shaken by the dream, and spent the entire rest of the day trying to figure out why I was so traumatized by it.  I mean, I landed safely didn’t I?  Everyone was safe, weren’t they (aside from the pilots and the terrorist, of course)?  Why did I have a breakdown after all of that?

Then, as I was laying down to sleep that night, I asked the Lord why it was so hard for me, and suddenly I saw it from a new light.  I suddenly saw it as the miracle it was.  I couldn’t have landed that plane – only God could have brought us down safely!  I was paralyzed because I could only see the circumstances of the dream.  But when I saw it for the miracle it was, I could only praise God and rejoice.

This dream is exactly what I’ve been dealing with over the last two months in real life.  I feel like I’ve been left to land a 747, with everyone relying on me to do it right, but I have no clue what I’m doing.  I’ve been getting stressed, shutting down, being pushed emotionally and mentally past my limits, and I just keep seeing everyone who is relying on me in this time and all that is at stake should I fail.  But I’ve only been looking at my circumstances.  What about the miracle?

As I thought about this, I started thinking about the disciples at the time of Jesus crucifixion.  I remembered Peter cutting off the man’s ear in Jesus’ defense, trying to be land the plane when it seemed nobody else was going to do anything.  But just a few hours later, he denied he even knew Jesus three times (the breakdown).  And I think of the rest of the disciples, hiding out (paralyzed by fear), so as not to be pulled into this mess going on around them.  What must they have been thinking and feeling?  Everything they hoped in, believed in, gave their lives to was crashing all around them, and there was nothing they could do about it.  Yet with their leader on a cross, Jesus’ whole ministry was now relying on them.  They must have been afraid, confused, and defeated by the circumstances around them.  Surely, they did not see it for the miracle it was.

But what a difference a little perspective makes!  What situations are you facing today that are like that 747?  What situations are too big for you right now?  What circumstances are out of your control?  What are people relying on you for that you just can’t provide by your own strength?

“In your weakness, I am strong,” God said to Paul (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).  In your weakness is God’s opportunity for a miracle!  When there’s no possible way for you to steal His glory, God shows up to do the impossible.  Like Moses at the Red Sea, with all the Israelites relying on him.  Like Gideon with his handful of men against the massive armies of the Midianites, with all of Israel resting on his success.  It was in those moments that God did some of His greatest miracles, and it is in those moments that He wants to do a miracle in you!  But only if you’ll take this moment to see past your circumstances to see His divine opportunity.

Won’t you stop and see your circumstances right now for the miracle they are becoming?

God bless you all and be encouraged in this time of testing and shaking.  “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Posted: 12/21/2010 10:35:07 PM by Matthew Bauer | with 0 comments
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