I told a story in class this past week about my grandfather, Capt. Lawson, who flew an F-4u during WW-II.
During one of his flights the plane went into what pilots term a "death spiral." The name pretty much explains the action and severity of the problem.
As the plane spiraled and plummeted downward, my grandfather struggled and struggled with the controls, attempting to coax the aircraft out of the death spiral and back onto level flight. My grandfather tried and tried but nothing he did worked to save the plane from certain doom.
Then my grandfather came to the conclusion that he would have to bail out, so with his parachute on his back he opened the cockpit and began an attempt to exit the aircraft.
I say "attempt" because he could not get out! The G forces exerted by the spinning maneuver were forcing him back into his seat, he was trapped in a spinning hunk of metal headed for certain destruction.
My grandfather came to a dire conclusion at that moment, his best efforts were not enough to save him. His current situation was hopeless.
In a moment of clarity, my grandfather remembered reading the flight manual for the F-4u. The words of the author in an obscure section of the flight manual explained what to do if caught in a death spiral. The author wrote that contrary to common sense when caught in a death spiral, the pilot must let go of the controls and the plane would fly out of the death spiral.
My grandfather trusted the author of the manual. He relinquished control and the plane flew out of the death spiral.
He was saved from certain death.
We should always let God have control of the direction of our lives, but when we are in the lowest places in our lives, when we are headed for certain doom and despite our best efforts we are trapped in a place of hopelessness—we MUST let go, and allow God to have control.
Of course we have heard Jeremiah 29:11 about God’s good plans for our lives, but we also must remember that God guides us (Isaiah 58:11, Psalm 48:14, Psalm 32:8, Isaiah 48:17) and God protects us (Psalm 91:3-7, Isaiah 41:10). We are His children and His loving plans are perfect.
I know it is difficult, we (and by “we” I really mean “I”) like to retain control, we like to think that our lives are going exactly where we are steering. But usually our plans don't work out quite the way we think they will. Jobs disappear, relationships struggle, loved ones die--we all have things in our lives that just haven't turned out the way we planned.
Proverbs says we must rely on God because the plans of men eventually come to ruin, “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails." (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)
We need to read the manual so that when we are in those places of dire need, when our minds are filled with pain, fear, and sorrow—we already know what to do (Psalm 119:11).
We can have a relationship--a close, personal relationship--with the author of our manual. God through Jesus offers friendship, yes He is our Creator, yes He is our God, yes He is our Father—but He also desires to be our friend, our companion.
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17, NKJV)