In an extraordinary reversal of the usual sequence of things, the fundamental law that maintains safety in the air was stated over two thousand years prior to the development of jet travel. The law itself predates even that early statement. We're not referring to any law of aerodynamics - as important as those laws obviously are in flying. We're referring to the eternal law of God, of uninterruptable and harmonious good, which physical laws, at best, can only point to.
The statement of that law, while given any number of times in different places and different ways, has rarely been expressed more simply or clearly than when the Psalmist sang: ''If I ascend up into heaven, thou (God) art there .... If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.'' n1 That basic truth of God's ever-presence caring for us underpins the safety of each of us, no matter what the circumstances.
n1 Psalms 139:8-10.
Certainly it's helpful to know your pilot has had years of experience flying so many thousands of miles. And that the FAA (and the airline company, no doubt) have established rigid standards of excellence for the pilot and the craft itself. But above and beyond that is the supreme power and sustaining presence of God's own law of good, of harmony, of safety.
Mary Baker Eddy, a follower of Christ Jesus, whose life overlapped the earliest days of fixed wing flight, in some ways paralleled the early pioneers of aviation. Obviously, they weren't inventing the physical laws that relate to flight. But through experiment and study and practice those pioneers were discovering the nature of laws already in existence, and how to apply them. Mrs. Eddy discovered divine law to be underlying the apparently miraculous rescues and instances of protection given in the Bible, as well as the many Biblical assurances of God's presence and might. She discovered the full reach of this law, which she termed Christian Science.
She writes: ''In this Science of being, man can no more relapse or collapse from perfection, than his divine Principle, or Father, can fall out of Himself into something below infinitude.'' And later on she says, ''God holds man in the eternal bonds of Science, - in the immutable harmony of divine law.'' n2 It is this very law, when understood and applied, that can assure the safety of a flight, and bring peace of mind to anyone wrestling with the fear of flying.
n2 No and Yes, p. 26.
Giving a theme central to his teachings, Christ Jesus assures us, ''Be not afraid.'' n3 For him and his early followers this fearlessness clearly wasn't a matter of bravado or cavalier disregard of common sense. It was a deeply felt position, anchored in a recognition of the divine control maintaining the whole of creation in safe and harmonious order.
n3 Mark 5:36.
But when this harmonious order appears threatened and tragedy looms, what then? That is perhaps the most important time of all to acknowledge the presence and effectiveness of God's law of uninterruptable safety, to be aware of His government holding us up.
When the disciples at sea were caught in what looked like a disastrous storm, Jesus' response was to walk to them on the water, join them in the boat (after first giving Peter a helping hand when the disciple, walking on the water toward Jesus, began to sink), and quiet the storm. n4 Hardly a submission to potential or inevitable disaster! It was vivid proof that man is held in the harmony of divine law - the only genuine law governing the universe.
n4 See Matthew 14:22-33.
While such a proof may to many seem beyond their present abilities, this law remains intact. To the degree we understand and apply it, our outlook and our experience are safely upheld. And we, too, find it natural, and inevitable, to be unafraid. These lines from a hymn put it well: ''Everlasting arms of Love/Are beneath, around, above.'' n5 What safer place could we possibly be in!
n5 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 53.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27