Category: Cultural Commentary Written by Jim Denison
Given my distaste for elevation, I learned this morning that I've been flying the wrong airlines all these years. It seems Alaska Airlines hands out prayer cards with its meals. For more than 30 years, the airline has included small cards with verses from the Psalms along with the meals it distributes to passengers. One example is this statement printed over a beach scene: "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever." Another depicts a mountain with the words, "I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O most high."
For many years, positive comments outnumbered negative feedback. Back in 2004, the airline celebrated the practice and declared that the cards were "here to stay." Lately, however, opinion has shifted. The airline has been receiving a growing number of complaints from flyers who were offended, so officials have decided to end the practice. A spokeswoman explained, "Some customers were comforted by the cards and some didn't feel religion was appropriate on the plane and preferred not to receive one."
Here's my question: When is religion more "appropriate" than when you're 30,000 feet in the air with no visible way to stay up there?
You may not share my fear of flight, but you have your own worries this morning. For every fear we feel, God has given us "his very great and precious promises" to claim (2 Peter 1:4). For instance, are you facing a difficult decision today? God says, "I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13).
Are you worried about the future? "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today" (Exodus 14:13). Are people opposing you? "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6). Are worries stealing your peace? "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).
I encourage you to name your fear this morning, specifically and honestly. Then find a biblical promise to claim, and stand on the word of God. The psalmist declared, "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid" (Psalm 118:6). Have you made the same decision yet today?