Final Approach . . . Autopilot Off

Recently I saw a video of a huge jetliner coming in for a landing in the midst of some pretty harsh turbulence at an airport in Portugal. It was one of those clips that shows this plane only yards (meters for my Canadian friends) from the ground and the wings are teetering back and forth as the pilot battles fierce crosswinds. The plane coming down at some crazy angle as the pilot fights the winds and tries to avoid burying the aircraft in the ground. On such an approach I don’t think anyone in the cockpit is relying on the plane to fly itself. The autopilot is off . . . the human pilot’s hands are on. And though I’m no expert, my understanding is that even in good weather, when you land one of these big birds, you best be doing it with trained hands on the controls.

Reading the last part of 2Peter this morning. Peter is reminding his readers that though the Lord is patient, He is not slow to fulfill His promise. That though He waits, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance,” the day of the Lord will come and will do so as a “thief in the night” (3:9-10). And that we are to be “waiting for and hastening the coming day of God” (3:12) . . . “waiting for the new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (3:13). The Day is approaching, Peter reminds his brothers and sisters. In a sense, we are on final approach . . . autopilot off.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. . . . take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.    (2Peter 3:14, 17-18 ESV)

Now’s not the time to be sitting back with our feet up trusting the plane to fly itself. Now’s not the time to be distracted with a million other things. The runway is fast approaching . . . the crosswinds of error are fierce . . . the danger of losing stability is real. Time to switch off the autopilot and take control of the landing.

“Be diligent,” says Peter . . . “Take care” . . . “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

How easy to minimize the impact of the turbulence of a world in rebellion to God on our own stability. How easy to just find our flow and go with it. How easy it is to place our pursuit of the kingdom of God on autopilot. But Peter reminds me this morning that I need to make sure my head’s in the game . . . my hands are on the wheel . . . and my eyes are on the prize.

Not that it’s all up to me. It’s grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home. I’m not to rely on a flight plan of my own making . . . and the pneumatics I’m counting on are that of the Spirit of God who lives inside of me. Nevertheless, I need to kick off the autopilot and make every effort to grow in grace . . . and guard against being carried away . . . and, with holy determination, seek to be found by Him without spot or blemish and at peace.

So that, on that day when we set ‘er down in the land of promise, we might hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen!


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