Flight Safety and Escape Routes
My brother is an accomplished pilot with some 50 years of experience under his belt. When I was young and he lived closer, I got to go up with him several times in small airplanes. He would even let me talk to the tower and “take the stick.” (I attribute those adventures as the reason why I have no having no fear of flying. Understanding the physics and mechanical basics of human flight does wonders for a high confidence level!)
Last weekend I got to go flying with him again, for the first time in some 35 years. As I got into the cockpit of the small Cessna, the first instructions he gave me were about safety. He said, above the roar of the engine, “There are two things you need to know for your own safety. First, buckle up – both with the lap and shoulder harnesses.
“Second, if for whatever reason you need to exit the plane quickly, unlock the door with that lever there, release the seat here, and roll. You may get scraped and bruised from rolling, but it’s better to be a little banged up than be close to a tin can filled with 80 gallons of airplane fuel.”
The Escape Plan
There is always an escape route should the regular safety measures fail.
I immediately thought of Paul’s observation in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
The word “temptation” in that passage has always intrigued me, if only because there have been times that I have succumbed to temptation – the traditional sense of the word – in my own life, no matter how great my desire to overcome it. Rather than get mad at God for not helping me be more perfect, I wondered if there’s a possibility of that word meaning something else.
Sure enough, a quick Internet search on the original Greek translation of that verse says that the word “temptation” as translated in the King James version can mean something bigger. Besides “being tempted to sin,” it also includes the idea of “trial,” or “testing.” That idea is supported in 1 Peter 4:12 where the same Greek word is used:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
In other words, there is no trial that we may go through but such as is “common to man.” There are times when we feel that no one can possibly understand what we are going through. But because Jesus endured “every temptation,” He knows how to guide, carry, and support us through anything we may endure. (See Alma 7:11-12.)
Back to my adventure of flying, then. Life is a little bit like an airplane. There are days when the skies will be clear, the turbulence minimal, and the ride akin to the best roller coaster.
Still other days there may be storm clouds, or unpredictable instrument malfunctions.
In those days, should something go wrong, there is always an escape route. Even the most experienced pilots with all their knowledge of navigation and flight techniques may not have every flight go perfectly. Even those pilots know the necessity of safety measures and how to escape.
There is no guarantee that life will always be smooth sailing, even when we do our best to keep the commandments and follow the Savior. There may be days when you feel a little bruised and banged up. But there is always an escape plan. Always.