Losing Altitude.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

You know those airplane movies where the aircraft is packed to capacity. Passengers are on their way to some fun destination. The music is cheerful, serene. A peek through a side window shows an outstretched wing like the arm of God as the mechanical bird glides smoothly through the atmosphere, unhindered by cloud cover or even mild thunder storms.

The scene draws a gullable viewer to ease back in their seat and rest awhile.

Until there’s a bird strike or some other mechanical problem that cripples the plane.

Oh geez. Now what, I beg, a hand pressed to my thrumming heart.

That thing begins to lose altitude. That’s what.

Then the camera gives a peek into the minimal space of the cockpit. The pilot is strapped in his seat, surrounded by scores of flashy buttons and flip switches. His expression is taut and complexion paled as he contacts air traffic control to give status report, making heroic effort to maintain even tone as though the magnitude of the situation were equal to an oopsy daysie coffee spill on his uniform.

While the intensity of the music increases, the camera pans to the view through the windshield. To see what the pilot sees...

Jagged mountain peaks of the Great Himalayan Mountain Range loom. They appear to enlarge in size as the pilot scrambles to lift the craft above it.

There are seasons of life that feel like I’m losing altitude. Maybe you’ve felt that, too?

~ When bills are past due

~ When the doc reports there’s evidence of active disease

~ When dreaded divorce papers arrive

~ When dreams of being blessed with children are shattered by miscarriage

~ When the job went to a “better” candidate… time and time again

~ When a life is taken

~ When children deny Christ

~ When a Cat 5 hurricane robs all possessions

Circumstances can cause my eyes to round as though life’s airplane is inches from crashing into the jagged peaks below. 

But this I know: God holds me safely in His mighty hand for the duration of the ride.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…Psalm 46:1

I will turn all My mountains into roads. Isaiah 49:11a

He pilots the unpredictable excursion over life’s varied topography below, fully aware of the challenges and difficulties.

God never promises a smooth and uneventful flight, but as my pilot, He always promises to navigate me safely through it all. 

It just might be that the experience of “losing altitude” is nothing more than my fear-drenched perspective, altering my ability to see the undaunted face of Jesus within the cockpit, convinced the situation is hopeless when it is not.

How have you handled hardships that have you feeling like you’re losing altitude, about to crash into the mountain below?



  1. Emily Conrad says:

    I love this image, Mary! I’m a little stressed about some things right now, but I’m going to picture just what you wrote about–Jesus undaunted in the pilot’s seat. He’s got this under control.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Thanks, Emily. Sorry you find yourself stressed over things. This post was born from a repetitive phrase I found spewing out of my mouth, inviting fear to have its way with respect to our financial situation rather than trust God. And it is a choice. I chose poorly often 🙁 I’m thankful our Pilot is patient with His sheep.

  2. Kelly says:

    What a wonderful analogy, Mary. You are gifted to see spiritual lessons in the mundane of life that most of us overlook. Emily has that gift as well. I seriously want the to of you to consider putting your blogposts into a devotional book, either a combined project or individually. So blessed!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      We are all gifted in ways that work in and through the body of Christ, and, I trust, spill over into a hurting and confused and self-righteous world. As a writer, we do hold a great responsibility to craft words with care. As for compilation of these posts into one devo… yes, that would be a cool idea! 🙂

  3. Margaret Eomurian says:

    i am a week behind in reading your blogs! Just saw this and love the image of imagining “Jesus’ undaunted face” as He sits in the cockpit, knowing there is no force of nature He cannot handle and that His precious children are sitting in the seats behind the door to the cockpit.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      God being sovereign, I believe you are not behind in the least. You read it when you needed it most, as I wrote it when I needed it most. God is awesome!

  4. Margaret Eomurian says:

    Yes, please put your blogposts in a devotional. I second Kelly’s request. Think how many will be blessed!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Hmmm. A second vote for making these story-style devos into a book. I’ll ponder this… Thanks for affirmation! Just ever so humbled you take the time to read and are blessed by them.

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