What Flying Taught Me About Trust

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Jul 10, 2024
What Flying Taught Me About Trust

We know [Jesus'] name, His credentials, His expertise, and His authority. But if we know Him yet doubt Him more than others, why is this so?

On July 3rd, 2024, my husband Ben and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We were blessed to travel to Colorado for a week and explore God's beautiful creation. When we began to experience turbulence on our flights, however, it got me thinking about trust. More specifically, who and what we put our trust in, and how our actions reflect that confidence. 

As I gripped Ben's hand, the plane shook rapidly. Overhead, the pilot announced we would be in for a bumpy ride over the next hour. Remains from the hurricane in Texas were making their way across the skies, and though this wouldn't cause us an imminent threat, it would create a rough path to our next destination. Looking out the window to my left, storm clouds surrounded us. I began praying when the Lord planted these words in my mind: Who do you trust?

Who Do You Trust?

It seems like a simple question, but who you trust determines what you do and how you live your life. I've heard it said, time and time again, that most of us trust things without thought. These habits or automatisms, like breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping, getting dressed, or typing on a computer, for instance, are completed without thought. Sitting in a chair, driving a car, or walking into a grocery store also displays this nuance. Think about it:

When you drive your car, you trust the car to get you where you need to go. Unless it's out of gas or in need of a repair or oil change, you believe the vehicle is reliable. You most likely aren't actively thinking about maneuvering the vehicle or where it's going. 

Sitting in your chair at work happens without thought. Rarely, do we ponder if the chair will hold us. Trust me. As a former English teacher, I watched students shuffle in and out of classrooms and chairs all day. In my five years of teaching, never once did someone express concern that the chair wouldn't hold them. They trusted the chair, and so do we. 

Unless you have a medical condition that makes breathing difficult, you trust that you're going to wake up in the morning. You probably aren't pondering your breaths when you drift off to sleep (unless you struggle with insomnia and aren't sleeping), and unless you consciously think about it, breathing happens without much thought or concentration. 

Even this past week when I flew on a plane, I trusted the pilot and airline to get me where I needed to go. I don't even know the pilot's name or credentials, but we as humans are trained to believe and trust those with authority. This is birthed through government, economics, and world affairs. 

Yet, when it comes to trusting our Creator, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Authority, and Pilot of our lives, we struggle to release control. Jesus is someone we should know personally. We know His name, His credentials, His expertise, and His authority. But if we know Him yet doubt Him more than others, why is this so?

Why Do We Struggle to Trust God?

Though it's not an excuse, humans struggle to trust what we can't see. We can see the chair, pilot, and car in front of us. We can't always visibly see or audibly hear God working in our lives. His Word says we can trust Him, and for those who have been Christians for any amount of time, I'm sure you can recount miracles and places you've seen God move in your life. And yet, we struggle to trust Him. 

It's not going to be an easy process, but one thing God revealed to me on this plane ride was how to release this struggle of trust in Him. Think of it this way:

Let's say you're on a plane traveling to Colorado like I was. During the flight, a young man bursts into the pilot's cockpit. Logistically, he knows this is where the pilot and co-pilot sit. The instruments and controls needed to fly the plane or coordinate the control tower are also in this room. 

The pilot is caught off-guard, but theoretically, let's say he's strangely nice and tells the young man to sit down. Instead of sitting, however, the young man hovers over his shoulder. Instead of listening, he then grabs control of the equipment and tries to steer the plane. It takes security to get the young man back to his seat. Humiliated, he's escorted back to his chair and banned from using that airline ever again. 

While the likelihood of this scenario is low to slim or non-existent, I think it paints a clear picture for each of us: Why would we try to take the reigns from someone who knows what they're doing? When we try and take control from Christ, or don't trust Him with our lives, we illustrate how this young man felt with the pilot. He knew he should trust the pilot, but his longing for control got the best of him and left him worse off than he began. 

The Good News About Trusting Jesus

The good news about trusting Jesus is that He already knows there will be times when we struggle to trust Him. There are going to be countless scenarios when we grab the reins when we shouldn't, and He's going to pull us off the seat of the throne and put us back in the passenger seat where we belong. But unlike the pilot scenario, we haven't caused danger for others, and we haven't been banned from the plane. We've been invited back to first class, priority seating. Why? Because He loves us and wants us to learn from our mistakes. 

When we try to take control, fear, worry, and concern overwhelm us. I don't know about you, but I'm not trained to be a pilot, and I'm not trained to be God. But when we allow God to reign in our lives, and submit control to Him, we can rest and trust. We can put to death the striving that tells us we must do more. Thus, we find peace in Him that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 

Shana Schutte, author of Trusting: Let God Do the Driving, notes this phenomenon this way:

"I don't know about you, but I have never had any success trying to boss someone around while attempting to trust them simultaneously. Trying to be in control and relinquishing control at the same time just doesn't work." 

As a human who wrestles with anxiety and depression daily, I've learned that control is something I deeply struggle to release. Don't be surprised or ashamed if this is something you also grapple with giving to God. We are humans, and on this side of heaven, we often fight to cling to things that were never ours. That's okay. RememberHe still loves you and desires for you to submit to Him. 

With breath in our lungs, and purpose in our hearts, we have the opportunity to run back to our Father. We can ask for forgiveness, ask for help to trust God, and watch Him guide and direct our paths. Though there will be times we try to fly the plane when we shouldn't, God has a perfect plan for our lives. He can help us learn from our mistakes, correct our behavior, and still make it to the destination. 

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Mateusz Atroszko

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.