Refueled

Flights are normally straightforward for pilots.

Usually, a pilot knows exactly where he is going, and has enough fuel to get there.  Even in circumstances like sudden storms, the pilot knows he can only go as far as his fuel will take him, and will eventually land and get his feet back on earth.  That’s the way it works: to get fuel to fly, you have to land.

Sometimes, however, a pilot is called to stay in the air far beyond the fuel’s capacity; something about their mission removes the option to land, and they must rely on aerial refueling to keep going.  When their fuel is low, another plane comes overhead, lowers a fuel-line, and each plane coordinates their speed and flight-path to ensure the line connects and the fuel transfers.  Refueled, the pilot continues his course, never touching earth.

On land, the pilot can step out of the plan and relax; when aerial-refueling, he must remain in the cockpit.  Imagine how the pilot might feel if the mission demands he remain in the air multiple days, going and going and going, refueled only to keep going some more!  Imagine if the plane could feel; its engines never able to stop, it must keep flying long past it’s normal limit.

I often feel like that plane.  In ministry I strive not to do what I want to do, or even what I’m equipped to do, but what God invites me to do; more often than not, it is outside my preference and capacity.  I may have the passion and energy to serve at the start, but over time my fuel gets spent; knowing I’m at the end of myself, I ask God if I can land.  That’s the way it works: to retain strength and desire, I have to land.

I want to invite you to keep going.”

“Okay, God… but my fuel is gone.  I can’t keep going.”

Yes you can.  Stop trusting your fuel and trust my Spirit in you.

I can look back and recognize an abundance of times when I could not keep going, and yet somehow did; my strength and desire were but fumes, and I served nonetheless.  It’s in those moments I know the Spirit did an “aerial refueling”; while I thought the only way to persevere was to take a break, the Spirit did something supernatural that was not dependent on me.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Scripture is filled with individuals who reached the end of themselves and God quietly said, “I want to invite you to keep going.  God shares these stories because He knows it may be your story today.  You may be flying a mission you would not have chosen, looking at a dropping fuel-gauge and longing for your feet to touch ground, but God won’t seem to let you land.  I want to encourage you that:

  • your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” (Matthew 6:8), and if He’s asking you not to land, then the ground isn’t what you need.  He can refuel you in supernatural ways.
  • [do] not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9) is our responsibility in those moments; God is saying, “I know you have reason to be weary, but you do not have to become that.”
  • Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.  For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery,” (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6)  The time to land will come, though the waiting can be hard; in the meantime, God will protect you.

Perhaps you, like Elijah, are depleted and crying out, “I have had enough, Lord!”   When Elijah was ready to quit, God met him with a supernatural refueling in that space; instead of ending his ministry, He equipped Elijah to travel even further, where he encountered God in a way he never had before.  God has endless fuel and is flying before you; at the proper time, He will lower the line and restore you to keep flying.  When you choose to trust His invitation, you — like Elijah — will encounter Him in ways you never have before.

The ground is nice, but “better is one day in [His] courts than a thousand elsewhere!” (Psalm 84:10)

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