“Delta flight 5039 is boarding in five minutes.”

Clutching my plane ticket with sweaty palms, I nervously glance toward my gate. Eleven hours and twenty-six minutes until I arrive in England. My slightly blurry vision finds business suit figures, sitting with laptops and drinking coffee. People are scattered about, making small talk with neighbors or sleeping until the plane arrives. Everyone appears to be calm . . . except me.

“You feeling alright? It’s not too late to back out.” I look at my father next to me, and note the concern in his eyes.

“I’m fine, Dad. No need to worry about me.” I give a weak smile and swallow the lump in my throat. I can’t let him know how scared I am. He’s already so worried. My stomach rejects the smell of blended coffee and cherry pastries. I feel as if tiny ninjas are performing backflips in my stomach. Thoughts scurry inside my head, pressing me for answers. Who’s going to pick me up at the airport? Will customs be confusing? What if I can’t find my luggage? Is college life in England that much different than America?

“Zone 1, you may now board.”

Grabbing my lumpy suitcase, I turn to the tear-stained faces of my parents.

“Don’t worry, I’ll only be gone for a semester.” I give a slight smile, hoping to reassure my parents. Mom reaches for my hand and gives it a squeeze, tears spilling down her chin. Am I doing the right thing by leaving? Strong, fatherly arms wrap around me, his grip tightening. I know he’s afraid to let go. Sobs wrack his body – I’ve never seen my father so emotional. I breathe in his familiar scent of cologne, choking back tears. “Really, I’ll be okay. I love you, Dad.”

As I board the plane, I catch a glimpse of my father’s face, his eyes filled with tears and concern. Aside from FaceTime, I won’t see my family for four months. Fear of the unknown consumes me and I begin to doubt God’s plan. Putting my life in God’s hands scares me because I cannot see Him, or my future.

Looking back, I realize that I never second guessed the pilot’s ability to get me safely to England. In fact, I hadn’t seen the pilot before I boarded; I just trusted he or she was there and knew how to fly. Why did I put so much trust and faith in human hands while struggling to find peace in God’s hands?

Every day I place my confidence in small things without thinking twice. I’m comfortable with familiarity, trusting areas I feel I have control over. For example, when flipping on a light switch, I trust that light will appear. The possibility of the light bulb’s blowing doesn’t cross my mind or cause concern. Something so minor and materialistic is simple for me to grasp. Yet giving God my full trust is another issue.

It’s easy to label our fears and doubts as, “Oh, I can’t see God. What if He isn’t real?” I think we all grapple with similar thoughts. Not being able to see God proves challenging especially when conflict arises. Many times we choose fear over trust, letting worry consume us. We put humans on pedestals and place God below them.

It’s ironic that we often trust earthly things while doubting our heavenly Father who created all life and the universe. Here are a few examples of everyday things we trust.

  1. Traffic Lights. Green, yellow, red. You watch the vibrant colors slowly change. You seem to hit all the red lights at every intersection. Frustration and impatience take form as you wait for the light to change. Although annoyed, you trust that the lights are timed and working properly.
  2. Clock/Time. You glance at your watch. It’s 8:07, so you have work in twenty-three minutes. Wanting to get there on time, you grab your jacket and head out the door. You don’t worry about the watch; you trust that it’s not broken and is running on time.
  3. Cab driver. You’re in the big city and in a hurry. You woke up late, already stained your new shirt, and had your cab stolen by another frantic person heading to work. When you get in the cab, you don’t question who the driver is. You just trust that the driver knows your route and will get you there safely.

Giving God the pilot’s seat can be a challenge. We doubt God’s ability to care for us. Letting God take control is a decision we must all make for ourselves. By trusting Him, we set aside our worries and give Him full control to guide us in the best direction. A verse I remind myself daily of is Isaiah 41:10. “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.”

When I think back on my flight, I feel blessed that my earthly father has so much love for me. Although concerned, he supported my decision to experience a life of my own. He trusted that I would make good decisions during my time abroad. If my earthly father loves me that much, how much more does my heavenly Father love me?

As God’s children, we need to trust that God is in control. He’s the pilot, and most importantly He’s our heavenly Father who loves us. He opens His arms wide for a tightening hug. I learned that setting aside my doubt and trusting God with my future is the best decision I could ever make.

Even on a flight to England.

Maddie Temple is a student at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.