Short, Sloped Landing Areas.
I will go before you and will level the mountains. Isaiah 45:2a
Every other month via snail-mail and/or e-mail, I receive the Prayerline, a day by day listing of prayer requests for JAARS, the non-profit organization founded in 1948 by William Cameron Townsend, JAARS partners with ministries, such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, to reach the “nearly 700 million people who speak roughly 5,000 languages with little to no scripture in their own language.” https://www.jaars.org/pray
Transportation to these remote countries occurs by land, sea and air.
According to the Prayerline, pre-field orientation training has been conducted in Spruce Pine, NC this week. Those involved will learn maintenance projects as well as “flights into short, sloped landing areas.”
Before reading further, I lifted my eyes from the paper, pausing to imagine what the experience of landing in an area like this might be like.
Fear crept in as I thought about being strapped inside, say, a helicopter, as it hovers several miles in the air near the side of a mountain, the fierce wind chopping against its slick, metal side, the husky engine swaying and tilting as the pilot attempts to ease the aircraft onto a (gulp) short, sloped landing site.
You’ll not find me looking for short and sloped anything. Ever. My prayers are wrought with ‘Bless this and bless that’ and ‘May this go smoothly and that go smoothly…’.
Basically, Oh, dear Lord, may I never have to struggle.
I can almost see God clapping nail-scarred hands to His ears and shaking His head.
I won’t keep you immune from trouble, challenges, and difficulties because that’s how you’ll grow and come to know Me.
God won’t always remove the short and sloped landing areas in my life. He awaits the day when my prayers reflect my willingness to ask for short and sloped with an unfailing faith, confident He’ll train me to navigate them while maintaining His place as the pilot.
“I have prayed for you…that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:32
(Not, “I have prayed for you…that you’ll never have it rough.”)
God may indeed level me a mountain or two, but that doesn’t mean those flat surfaces will be easy, either. The straight, broad and level paths I so long for bring the risk of apathy, self-sufficiency and even discontent.
I’d rather be on a short and sloped side of a mountain with the Lord than on a flat, paved runway without Him.
What about you? Where do you pefer to hang out with God?
The path of the righteous is level; O upright One;
you make the way of the righteous smooth. Isaiah 26:7