While there, I drove my best friend’s Pontiac Firebird around the track. That was all of 120 miles per hour! Needless to say, that was quite exhilarating! But that does not even begin to compare with the other, which is what I experienced on my recent flight to India, and which is the fastest I have ever travelled period.
We were aboard an Airbus A330, a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS (the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company). It had a range of 4600 miles and could accommodate up to 335 passengers along with 70 tons of cargo.
While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, I kept an eye on the various screens placed throughout the fuselage. These were busily detailing the progress of our eight hour trans-Atlantic flight.
The huge plane sored to a height of 35,000 feet; and at one time actually topped 40,000 feet. (For those of you who are perhaps vertically challenged, that is between one and two miles above the height of Mount Everest!) In the rarified air at that height, we averaged over 500 miles per hour.
What is more, at one point in the journey, we were actually traveling at the astonishing speed of 618 miles per hour! How was this possible in a plane with a purported top speed of 545 miles per hour? The answer is easy: we had a 115 mile per hour tailwind that propelled us to this astonishing speed!
Now, given that the sound barrier is broken at approximately 768 miles per hour, let’s just say that this was clearly moving on! In point of fact, we were skipping along at just over 80% of the speed of sound!
By comparison, at other times, the plane seemed to be creeping along, barely making 470 miles per hour. What was the difference? I soon realized that it was the difference between flying with a head wind instead of a tail wind. The difference between working against the wind and working with it is apparently as much as 148 miles per hour in one’s speed!
It strikes me that life is much the same, especially for those who follow Jesus Christ. We can either work with the Holy Spirit or against Him. But, rest assured, one way will always be much more productive. The life of the Apostle Paul illustrates this fact well.
Chapter 9 of the New Testament book of Acts tells us that he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the early church when he encountered the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. After being knocked from his mount, Paul cried out as to Who it was that he had encountered. Verse 5 (KJV) gives the answer: “And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Pricks were well known to the people of that day. They were iron goads, commonly used for urging oxen, horses and other beasts of burden to go forward. Jesus was clearly saying to Paul that he was working against the will of God; and that because of this, his way would indeed be hard, and even painful.
But, after his conversion, Paul began to work with the Holy Spirit as opposed to against Him. In so doing, he found his going much easier. To be sure, there were times when he continued attempting to go his own way, such as when he desired to go to Asia in Acts 16, only to have God close the door. But he soon learned that it was better to go with God than against Him.
For my part, I am also learning to “Let go and let God”! I am finding that I am far more fulfilled when I do. And it is not only easier, but more productive as well. As the old hymn says, “Taught by the Bible; Led by the Spirit; We’ll walk the Heavenly way!”
What about you today? Are you travelling your spiritual journey with a headwind? Or with a tailwind? One way will always be much easier than the other. And very often, the difference is only determined by which direction you are headed. Of course, that can be the easiest of all problems to resolve. It just takes a simple change of direction. And when you learn to travel with God as opposed to away from Him, the going can only get better and more productive.
As the Old Testament Prophet Jonah discovered, going down to Joppa, and down into a ship, and down into the sea, and down into the fish is a lot tougher than going up onto dry land, and up on to your feet, and up to Nineveh, which is, of course, where God had intended him to be going all along anyway!