Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
April 12, 2011
I’ve been flying a lot lately. When I came across these actual airplane in-flight announcements yesterday, they seemed appropriate.
One attendant said, “Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.” After a hard landing, the attendant said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”
And my favorite: after an unusually hard landing, the pilot was standing at the door while the passengers exited the aircraft. An elderly lady with a cane made her way up the aisle, stopped, and said, “Young man, do you mind if I ask you a question?” “No, ma’am,” said the pilot, “what is it?” The lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?” With all the challenges and inconvenience of air travel these days, nevertheless I’ll be on an airplane again this week.
So much of life turns on that single word, “nevertheless.” Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara finally took office yesterday after his rival was arrested. It would have been easier for him to give up on his country; nevertheless he stayed and fought for his people and now inherits a nation torn by conflict.
People are involved in car crashes every day in Dallas; nevertheless, I will drive home after work today. Marriages often end in divorce in our culture; nevertheless, Janet and I got married. Children so often break their parents’ hearts; nevertheless, we prayed for children and rejoiced when they were born. God so often disappoints me, permitting or even causing pain and heartache in my life; nevertheless, I will trust in him.
“Nevertheless” is a common word in the Bible. In hard times: “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Nevertheless I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:21-23). When we sin: “Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Nevertheless he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant” (Psalm 106:43-45). When it’s hard to be obedient: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Where is God asking you to trust him “nevertheless” today?