“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour…. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3-9, NIV)
Flying tires me out. Yet in my work and ministry, I have to travel by air quite often. That being so, I have decided to plan my flights so that my journey becomes a source of spiritual nourishment rather than an energy drain.
First, I plan to go to an event a day earlier, and return a day or two after if possible. This allows me to slow down and pause amidst my hectic schedule. I dislike the notion of flying in on the day of an event, and rushing to the airport immediately after it is over, or worse, jetting off to another destination. A well-strategised flight plan is necessary for long-distance travel to be pleasant and energising.
Second, choosing a window seat enables me to see God’s creation from such a height! I love the beautiful clouds, vast landscapes, and seeing places on which no one has ever set foot. In the busyness of our lives, we sometimes neglect the beauty of God’s handiwork. The magnificent views of nature always inspire me, reminding me of His beauty and omnipresence.
Next, looking out from the plane window allows me to view objects in their ‘right’ position and proportion relative to their surroundings. Being in the air makes me realise how small we are and how big God is. It corrects my sense of perspective. When at ground level, we often tend to see things out of proportion. This impairs our judgement. It is always important to see things in perspective to examine the issues in our lives more clearly.
Being in the air also gives me a sense of ‘peace’ that comes from being far above the ground and detached from the demands of my daily routine. When we are on a plane, phone calls, messages and emails are less likely to reach us, nor can we participate in things that demand our physical presence. Such times of detachment set us apart, allowing us to be alone with God.
“Travelling by air reminds me that I am not in control, be it of the weather, flight path, mechanical systems, pilots’ performance, passengers’ mental health, and more. There is little I can do to make the flight smoother or safer. Some of us may believe we have control of our lives and that we can achieve a great many things for God. We forget that we are vulnerable and weak, for “apart from me (Christ) you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV).”
Finally, surveying the terrain below while in flight draws me into the ‘terrain’ of my inner life. Looking at the magnificent yet perilous mountains evokes in me memories of my past challenges and struggles, and the times God brought me through the tough seasons of my life.
Flying above the clouds gives me a sense of serenity, knowing that there is constantly clear sky above the stormy clouds. It is a beautiful reminder that God is always in control. All I need to do is to trust in Him.
The Rev Dr Gregory Goh –
was elected President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) in 2016 for the quadrennium. He joined the CAC in 1992 and has since served for more than 20 years. He is married to Ms Irene Lim, a full-time teacher, and they have two daughters and a son.
Photos courtesy of the Rev Dr Gregory Goh