Archive for May 3, 2011

Lighten the Load

Posted: May 3, 2011 in Articles

Lighten the Load

Hello, all. Welcome to May. Summer is almost upon us and I am sure there are so many things you are looking forward to…at least I hope so. Time at the beach, lake, or maybe even a trip is on your summer to do list. We are going to divert away from the life on the road series, just a bit, but will still be talking about life outside the man caves and home. This time we’ll be cruising at 10,000 feet.

It always amazes me how airplanes that weigh so much are able to get off the ground and fly. Aerodynamics is absolutely amazing. I really like the movie Pearl Harbor (Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin).  We all know the story but there is a small but significant message in the movie that is very relevant to us today. In the movie, the success of the Army Air Corps’ bombing missions into Japan depended on the ability of the pilots to take off from an aircraft carrier. The carrier, however, had a very, very short runway. There was no do over or second shot at it. The planes had to get in the air before the runway ran out…period. Failure meant crashing into the ocean. What did they do? In the movie, I mean. Failed attempt after failed attempt to get off the ground within the allotted “few hundred feet”, the planes were literally gutted. The sailors and soldiers pulled everything out and stripped the planes down to the bare bones. This included nuts, bolts, gears, even extra fuel cans. They even pulled the machine guns and replaced them with broom sticks that were painted black (they wanted to enemy to think the planes were stilled armed)…anything to lighten the planes enough to get them airborne before splashdown. Well, they finally got the planes light enough, took off from the carrier, made the bombing runs, blew up Japanese targets, got shot down, got overrun by enemy patrols, fought bravely, one of the stars died but not before he learned he was going to be a father, ace pilot makes it through, he gets back home, lives happily ever after with the girl who is the mother of his best friend’s baby, and the rest is movie history. Despite what it may seem it really is a pretty good movie.

Back to the issue at hand. There were so many variables, gray areas, and uncertainties that before the mission Lt. Colonel Doolittle told the pilots that 50% or more of them would likely be either shot down or would not make it back because of a lack of fuel. Yet they all stepped forward and accepted the challenge. Why? Did they believe in Doolittle? Love the old US of A? Did they believe in the mission? Desire fame? Glory? Have faith in each other? I don’t know. Maybe a bit of all of that…or none at all. Regardless of why, for them to accomplish the mission…receive the fame…glory… For them to achieve the task set before them, they had to first get in the air. That meant stripping away the extra baggage and heading into the unknown fully exposed, somewhat defenseless, and riding on a wing and, most likely, a prayer.

If you’re like me, and taking the movie drama out of the equation, I would not have had the greatest level of confidence heading into enemy airspace, during a war, without any weapons or protection, or even extra fuel, and knowing that there is a better than 1 in 2 chance that I will either get shot down or run out of gas and crash. Can you say suicide mission? How often are our lives a direct reflection of those planes? We are so weighed down by the burdens of life that we can’t seem to get off the carrier except to…well, swim. Many of us look at the extra baggage, the machine guns (protection from the enemy), extra fuel (insurance, a way back home or to the comfort of our homes or man caves), and parts that don’t really do anything but are there because someone said they should be (all of the other “stuff” that life throws our way that seems just to come with living) as essential for us to get through the battle. However, those things thought to be essential are often the very things that keep us on the ground…from flying with God…from accomplishing the tasks set before us.  There is a way to “lighten the load” without being defenseless, helpless, or feel like we are on a suicide mission.

Christ tells us to “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.  Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you: he will never let the righteous fall.” We serve a big, all powerful, all knowing, all present, and all loving God. And He can handle our burdens and fight our battles. All we have to do is give the “extra baggage” to Him and have faith in Him.

I know. It’s easier said than done. For many of us it is difficult to cast our burdens on someone else, even Christ…the only one who can truly handle them. And despite how much we want to, we don’t. Jesus is patient, humble, and knocking at our door. He will always be there. All we have to do is open it. If you can’t cast all your worries and troubles on Him right now, start by casting only a few. Watch how He will come through for you. Believe me, there is no flying into the unknown defenseless and helpless when you are flying with Jesus.

Not sure how to get started? Try this prayer as a launching pad: Lord, I have all kinds of burdens that are weighing me down and keeping me from flying with you. And even though I want to, I have a hard time giving things over to you. Help me trust in you, that you can handle all my cares and worries, and that you will not let me fall. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, keep it real…and in the air.


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