The cold wind was absolutely howling from the peaks of the Alps that day as we left the southwest corner of Germany for Basel, Switzerland. It was a short flight to Zurich where we would connect for the long journey back to Los Angeles.
Upon checking in for our flight, we were informed that we would be bussed to Zurich instead because of the Winter storm arriving. What we found in Zurich once we got there was certainly cause for apprehension.
Standing outdoors on the observation deck at the Zurich airport was an experience in weather events to say the least. We have a photo of our young daughters that day, the hoods of their coats and their hair standing straight out behind them as if they were gliding along on a motorcycle. Only, they stood still. That was some wind.
We stood there together, the four of us watching in complete astonishment as one enormous jumbo jet after another approached their landing sideways. These giant jetliners would approach the runway swaying from side to side, and as their wheels would reunite with the earth they would quickly straighten out and the next one would tackle the roller-coaster runway scene. Man, that was some wind.
Cleared for Takeoff
Ours was one of the very last planes allowed in the air that day, and for several days afterward as Kyrill, the massive and violent Winter storm of January 2007 swept across Europe, closing airports, knocking down power to thousands, stranding travelers and even taking some lives in the wake of its widespread damage.
As we nervously sat buckled into the seats of our impressively sized Airbus, we anxiously awaited departure. “This is going to be interesting,” I thought, as the images of these huge jets landing in the wind played over and over in my mind.
Cleared for takeoff, our seven-seats-to-each-row behemoth rocketed down the runway. So far so good. As the nose of the plane began to point to the sky and the rear wheels left the planet and then tucked away in their proper places, it seemed quite normal. For about 30 seconds. And then the nervous gasps began throughout the cabin. Behind me, to the right, by that window seat across the aisle, there were sounds of fear coming from my fellow passengers.
Fear, Worry, Anxiety and Distress
I glanced out through a window to my right, and then wished I hadn’t. By then, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the marvel of engineering I was witnessing. I recall hoping that engineering was intentional as I watched the immense wings of this flying giant flap. I don’t mean the common flex you see in an airplane’s wings just about any time you fly. What I saw could only be described like a bird’s wing. It was staggering and bewildering and frightening all at once. Then my wife, calm as can be, pointed with her eyes to the compartments over our heads running the length of the colossal jet.
I looked up in astonishment and immediately wished I hadn’t taken my eyes off of that flapping wing! The structure of the cabin was twisting, flexing and swaying. Another hopeful thought that this, too, was intentional engineering. And then the immense jumbo jet actually dropped as it hit a powerful pocket of air. “This plane is far too big to do that,” I nervously thought.
This alarming ride went on for however long it takes for an enormous beast of an airliner to punch through an incoming storm. Though it felt like days, all of a sudden, the clouds disappeared beneath us as sunlight flooded the passenger compartment, welcomed by hundreds of audible sighs of relief as the swaying and twisting and flapping subsided. And more than a few prayers of thanksgiving were uttered, we can safely suspect. I know I prayed the prayer of relief of having dodged a bullet.
That day taught me something, as I imagine the dodging of bullets, real or figurative should. The obvious lesson I realized was that many times, I am not in control. I experienced concern, fear, worry, anxiety and distress in whatever minutes it took to get through that intense storm. I haven’t experienced all of those emotions together like that since then, but it’s most likely safe to conclude that we may very well go through some storm in life at some point that can bring them all back.
Whether all at once or one by one, these feelings do invade our thoughts during the turbulence of life. What do we do when the otherwise safe cabin of our world begins to twist and sway and rock from side to side? How do you keep your eyes on God in the middle of a storm?
What I have done and learned after that frightening ride through the tempest, and in the other storms that have threatened to keep me grounded since then is, I have identified some common themes throughout the Bible that address the fear, doubt and anxieties that can be summed up as worry, and I have time and again gone back to these Scriptures and continue to hold worry in all of it’s shapes and forms up through the lens of God’s word.
I hope this will help you in your storms.
Destroy Worry With These 21 Bible Verses
- Exodus 14:14 – Why worry?
- Deuteronomy 28:58 – Abandoning God is the cause of worry
- Deuteronomy 28:65 – Results of abandoning God
- Psalm 23:4 – God is with you even in the darkest of places
- Psalm 56:3 – Trust in God when you’re afraid
- Psalm 94:14, 18, 22 – Again, why worry?
- Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in God
- Jeremiah 17:5 – Trusting in God is the antidote for worry
- Ezekiel 12:1 – Ezekiel acts out Israel’s anxiety
- Matthew 6:25 – What Jesus says about anxiety
- Matthew 11:28-30 – Find rest in Christ
- Mark 4:35 – Jesus confronts worry and anxiety
- Luke 8:11 – Worry chokes the Word
- Luke 10:41 – “Only one thing…”
- John 14:1 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
- John 14:27 – Out of the world kind of peace
- Romans 8:38 – Nothing has the ability to separate you from God’s love
- Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice always”
- Philippians 4:6-7 – Bring it all before God
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Peace at all times
- 1 Peter 5:6-7 – Hurl your anxiety onto God