Monday, July 4, 2022

Grounded Wisdom

You've received a word from God. Now what?

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing conversation at The King’s University about the big callings God has for us. Inspired by the moment on an airline when God called Pastor Jack Hayford to start TKU, we want to know: What’s your 30,000-foot calling?

Hearing a word from the Lord is an unforgettable experience. Walking that word out is a process that can shape us forever. 

Many of us have had moments when we’ve felt a direction or word from God. It has the power to ignite our passion and encourage us to dream big dreams. It’s as if we are flying on a cloudless day and for a moment have the clear, higher perspective of our life’s purpose.   

But the path from receiving a word from God to seeing the fruit of that word in our lives is almost always different than we expect. Unforeseen events and detours can make us feel like the exact opposite of God’s word is happening in our lives. We feel stuck. We’re no longer flying. Our plane seems grounded. 

Recently, my husband and I were flying home from a weeklong trip and were excited to get back and sleep in our own bed.  However, once we got to the airport, a huge storm came through and delayed our departure time by 7 hours. Once it came time to finally board for the flight home, the announcement was made that our flight had been cancelled.  The flight crew was grounded for the day because the storm had caused them to exceed their daily allowed flight time. We would have to wait until the next day to get home.  

We were grounded. That word brought up memories from my teenage years when being grounded—restricted from activities—was a punishment. I definitely felt restricted. Our personal agenda for getting home that day was crushed and instead of sleeping in our own beds we had to stand in a huge line waiting for help to change our itinerary and find a place to sleep for the night. 

As I used the time in line to reflect, I remembered that the word grounded can also mean someone or something that is “well balanced and sensible.” I could see this applying to our situation. Although the complications of our flight delay felt like punishment, I wouldn’t have wanted the potential danger of having an overtired pilot oversee our flight home. Maybe our delay was a sensible decision that wasn’t fun to deal with. Maybe it was God’s protection on us. 

What if our delay was really an opportunity for us to trust God’s direction and provision in a deeper way? 

My perspective shifted to see the possible value of a delay placed in God’s hands.  

Delays can provide the opportunity to see issues that need attention—personal habits or attitudes that would make the road ahead harder or impossible if not addressed. 

Delays can confront stubborn timetables and agendas and give us space to release our grip from anything we are trusting other than God. 

Delays can remind us who is really flying the plane. It’s only through God’s strength and guidance that we will ever accomplish what we’ve been called to do.  

After the delay from our grounded flight, my husband and I safely returned home from our trip. We made it to our destination, but the process and the timetable just looked different than we had planned.   

Life’s journey is the same. 

As we surrender our bogged down places to God, we will eventually reach the destinies He has for us with a grounded, well balanced wisdom that only comes from submitting to His itinerary for our journey. 

It just might look a little different than we expected.

Julie Cole
Julie Colehttp://www.tku.edu
Julie Cole is the Director of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at The King's University.