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FLYING   7'2m?f Salvation: trust, belief, no leap of faith

(scene: an airplane cockpit or two chairs side-by-side facing 
audience)

FRED -- (in right seat, grabs own chair in terror) We're going 
to die! We're going to die! I know it!

ED ---- (in left seat, holding imaginary steering wheel, staring 
at imaginary dashboard instruments) We're not going to die. I've 
flown by instruments dozens of times and I haven't even had a 
close call.

FRED -- You're not even looking where you're going. It would
make me feel a lot better if you at least looked out the window.

ED ---- It might make you feel better, but it wouldn't be as
safe.

FRED -- What if something crosses our path? We'd crash right
into it.

ED ---- Well, first of all, we're in zero visibility flying
conditions. That means that if something is close enough for us
to see, it would be too late for us to avoid a crash.

FRED -- That's very comforting. Thank you.

ED ---- I'm not saying that to scare you. It's just a fact of
life. With zero visibility, you literally can't see where you're
going. But, fortunately, the air traffic controllers won't let
anyone else fly at this altitude, so there's nothing for us to
crash into.

FRED -- How do you know? How can you trust those people?

ED ---- Because they're pros. They do it for a living. They have 
thousands of hours of flight controller experience and their 
radar instruments are state-of-the-art.

FRED -- Yes, but how do you know you can trust the instruments?

ED ---- Well, it isn't by blind faith, if that's what you're
driving at. Before I put my life into the hands of either man or
instruments, I first practiced flying by instruments in clear
weather with 50-mile visibility. I found out through experience
in many cases, I could trust the air traffic controllers and my
instruments here, more than I could trust my own senses.

FRED -- You're kidding.

ED ---- No, I'm not kidding. Several times while I was
practicing flying on instruments, I doubted what the instruments
were telling me. But when I looked out through the windshield I
saw that I was dead on.

FRED -- I wish you wouldn't use the word DEAD when you talk 
about flying. It makes me nauseous.

ED ---- I think that's your real problem.

FRED -- What's that?

ED ---- You're real fear is not that you don't trust an
experienced pilot or state-of-the-art instruments. Your problem
is you're afraid of death.

FRED -- You got that right! Who isn't?

ED ---- I'm not.

FRED -- Oh, no! Don't tell me I picked a pilot who is on a
suicide bombing mission or something!

ED ---- (laughs) No. What I'm trying to say is, whether I live
or die, I have as much faith in Jesus as I have in these
instruments.

FRED -- Oh, no. I chose a Jesus freak for a pilot!

ED ---- I can assure you that my faith in Jesus is AT LEAST as
well grounded as my faith in these instruments. It's not just
blind faith.

FRED -- Yeah, right. Unless you're some kind of kook, there's no
way you've ever seen Jesus.

ED ---- (points to imaginary instrument) Look there at the
compass and tell me where we're headed.

FRED -- It says one-one-seven. Whatever that means.

ED ---- It means we're headed home. Directly home, whether I can
see home or not.

FRED -- I know what you're driving at. You're saying that just
because I can't see Jesus, doesn't mean he's not there.

ED ---- Exactly.

FRED -- Yes, but there's no way you could, like, test-drive
Jesus. How do you know you can trust him?

ED ---- Well, I can assure you, THAT wasn't by blind faith
either. First, of all, the Bible predicted events in Jesus' life 
hundreds of years before they actually happened. And he
fulfilled those predictions with amazing accuracy that makes
these instruments seem primitive by comparison.

FRED -- He did?

ED ---- Yes, including rising from the dead.

FRED -- You don't really believe that resurrection stuff, do
you?

ED ---- Jesus was seen by over 500 people after he rose from the
dead. It's a documented fact of history, recorded by Christians
and non-Christians alike.

FRED -- Oh.

ED ---- You know, there is a reason why world history is divided
between B.C. and A.D.. The creator of the universe came to earth 
and changed history forever.

FRED -- Yes, but that happened 2000 years ago. Nobody has seen
him since. How can you put your trust in someone nobody can see?

ED ---- You know, I have never met a single one of those air
traffic controllers but because so many other pilots have
successfully put their trust in them, I would be a fool if I
refused to trust them. The same is true for my instruments. I
have never seen the computer logic that goes into those
instruments, but so many people have successfully put their
trust and their lives in their care that I would be a fool if I
flew without them.

FRED -- So, you're calling me a fool?

ED ---- No, what I am saying is, you ought to try what I did 
when I practiced flying on instruments.

FRED -- What's that?

ED ---- When I was practicing flying by instruments, I would fly
from one city to another without looking out the window. I would
practice in clear weather and build my confidence and trust in
them, so that when the weather got soupy like this, trusting
them was second nature to me.

FRED -- You're saying I can do that with Jesus?

ED ---- Yes. I'm saying you can build your confidence in him,
step by step by step.

FRED -- Give me a step, for example.

ED ---- Death.

FRED -- I wish you wouldn't keep saying that word while we're
flying.... Are you SURE I can trust in Jesus?

ED ---- As sure as anything in the universe.

FRED -- Alright... Alright, I'll do it. But not right now. Right
now I'm too scared to do anything but be scared.

ED ---- Then, say a quick prayer to Jesus. Say something like
this. "Lord, I want to trust you with my life, but I don't know
how right now. I'm too scared."

FRED -- I can say that?

ED ---- There's no formula for putting your trust in the Lord.
Just give the Lord whatever you're capable of and he'll help you
trust him.

FRED -- He will?

ED ---- Yes. But it has to be genuine intention to put your life
into his hands.

FRED -- Okay. Okay, here goes. (closes eyes, moves lips, still
clutching chair, deep sigh, opens eyes)

ED ---- Well, how was it?

FRED -- (puts hands in lap) It sure is comforting to know I
don't have to worry about dying. It takes the pressure off.

ED ---- Trust is an amazing thing.

FRED -- (points straight ahead) Look! Is that what I think it
is?

ED ---- Yes, that's the runway. We're almost home.

FRED -- Wrong. I'm already home.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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