Cockpit Savvy

Cessna-172-Instrument-Panel-300x225It rarely happened, but on the few occasions when I received an early morning phone call asking for Sargent Seymour, I knew something big had transpired.  So when the phone rang very early that morning,  I knew it was going to be an interesting day.

When I confirmed that I was Sargent Seymour, the voice barked out an order: “Make sure you report at 0600 hours. You’re on the search and recovery team, and we have a pilot down.”

I was one of the first to arrive at my duty station, and I watched as the other team members began to file in.  After we were briefed, we were loaded on a bus and driven to the foot of a mountain where jeeps took us far as they could go. We then hiked to the crash site where the wreckage of the aircraft was scattered across a meadow.

I later learned that the cause of the crash was either instrument failure or the pilot had become disoriented.  There are times when a pilot will suffer spatial disorientation and he can’t tell up from down.  He may think he’s pulling the plane out of a dive, but he’s actually flying it into the ground.

Experienced pilots know they must trust their instruments and not just their senses.  The primary flight instruments found in many cockpits include:

  • Airspeed Indicator: Indicates the speed at which the air is flowing over the airplane
  • Attitude Indicator: Shows the position of the airplane in relation to the horizon.
  • Altimeter: Measures the altitude of the aircraft above sea level.
  • Vertical Speed Indicator: Indicates the Rate of Climb and Rate of Descent
  • Heading Indicator: The principal direction instrument used in flight.
  • Turn Coordinator: Gives information about the direction and rate of a turn.

Like an experienced pilot, a person needs to rely on more than just his senses—You also need the principles of God’s Word:

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he highlighted the value and benefit of Scripture:

 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Instead of thinking in terms of the primary flight instruments in a cockpit, think of Scripture as your primary faith instrument.  The Psalmist did, and he said God’s Word can:

  • Show you how to live.
  • Give you understanding
  • Guide your walk.
  • Point you in the correct direction.

O Lord, show me how to live according to Your statutes, and I will keep them always. Grant me understanding so that I can keep Your law and keep it wholeheartedly.

Guide me to walk in the way You commanded because I take joy in it. Turn my head and my heart to Your decrees and not to sinful gain (Psalm 119:33-36).

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